Hughes plans Stoke clear out

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Wil­fried Bony will lead an ex­o­dus of se­nior play­ers at Stoke this summer as Mark Hughes strives to raise funds for new re­cruits.

The fu­tures of £18.3 mil­lion (RM100.6 mil­lion) record-sign­ing Gianelli Im­bula, Bo­jan, Joselu, Philipp Wollscheid, and Marc Mu­niesa are all up in the air with Hughes ad­mit­ting he needs to bring through younger play­ers who will ac­cept squad ro­ta­tion.

It is un­der­stood Hughes must also lower the wage bill be­fore mak­ing bids for first-team sign­ings and the end of Bony’s loan from Manch­ester City is a cer­tainty.

Stoke pick up £80,000 of Bony’s £120,000-a-week City wages but Hughes has dropped him from the last two match­day 18s.

Bony this week claimed his ab­sence was ‘crazy’ but Hughes rates Peter Crouch, Saido Ber­ahino and Mame Bi­ram Diouf as bet­ter op­tions.

Bony, who cost City £28 mil­lion in Jan­uary 2015, has not played for Stoke since Dec 27 and scored only two goals all sea­son, both against for­mer club Swansea.

“Wilf had a good run ini­tially of 10, 11 games and it’s fair to say he didn’t score as many goals as he or I would have liked,” said Hughes.

“He will have to be pa­tient. He is be­hind a cou­ple of play­ers at the mo­ment. I as­sume that’s why he has had a lit­tle bit of re­ac­tion in the press.”

Im­bula has failed to make an im­pact since join­ing last sea­son and is also likely to be made avail­able, along­side Bo­jan, who is cur­rently on loan at Mainz.

“It is fair to say this summer we will look at the make-up of the squad and maybe change things around a lit­tle bit,” said Hughes. “We prob­a­bly won’t be as topheavy with se­nior play­ers.

“When that’s the case it’s harder to keep ev­ery­body happy. If they are younger play­ers they will ac­cept it is part of their de­vel­op­ment if they are in and out of the squad.

“We will see the fi­nances we have avail­able and the money we can gen­er­ate as well. That will all go into the same pot. And we will see if we can in­vest in the front 11 as well.”

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