There’s always plenty of transfer gossip throughout the year with numerous players linked to clubs. So how much of this gossip is realistic and how much of it would be sensible for the clubs and players involved in it? These transfer gossip analysis articles take a look at the major gossip to try and answer the big questions.
What’s the story? German international Sidney Sam is being linked to Stoke City and would appear to offer them a way to add some more zest to their improving attacking play. Sam has struggling to force his way in to the Schalke first team as Roberto Di Matteo hasn’t been using wide forwards very often so could easily be available. Sam has a good career record for getting involved in goals, with his spells at Leverkusen and Kaiserslautern seeing him either scoring or assisting every couple of games. His is able to play on either wing and brings goals, pace and directness. Stoke have been buying impressively, and from different countries in the last few summers including the loan of Philipp Wollscheid from Sam’s previous club Bayer Leverkusen so it would seem fair to think they would have some knowledge of him. Stoke have also brought in Arnautovic and Diouf from Germany over the last couple of years.
Does it make sense? Yes. Having got a bit stuck signing the same player types over and over again under Tony Pulis, Stoke have been a lot more inventive in the transfer market since Mark Hughes took over. Hughes seems less intimidated by players who haven’t already played in the Premier League and has signed players from Spain and Germany especially. It can hardly be a coincidence given that Hughes played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich so has every reason to trust his ability to incorporate players from these countries. Sam would give Stoke another option in wide areas and would probably offer a greater goal threat than the current wide players. Sam moved to Schalke to get back in to the German national team squad and the chance to be the star man at Stoke could entice him in order to help pursue that aim. With lots of players who have recently moved from Germany at the club also, Stoke seem have a head start on other interested teams in persuading him to make the move.
Is the price right? Schalke paid just £2m for Sam last summer so wouldn’t be in a position to get too much more. This type of arrangement could be a loan to buy to give everyone a chance to see if they can make it work. If not, something in the £5-6m region would be a fair price.
Will it happen? 7/10 – It’s not a given that Sam can be persuaded to leave Germany, but if he can, of the teams that would have a shot at him, I would put Stoke at the front of the queue. Hughes is known in Germany and with several recent additions from the Bundesliga to sell the club to him, there’s every chance they can make it happen. They can certainly afford to pay for him. This one will boil down to whether Sam can be enticed to leave Germany. Given his national team aims he may prefer to sit tight and try to catch the eye but if not, look out for Stoke getting him.
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