Bae Junho in £4m Bundesliga move as Stoke City make triple striker swoop - summer transfers predicted

Ukraine under-21s striker Mykola Kukharevych, who measures in at 6ft 4in, has had a difficult first year at Swansea.
-Credit: (Image: Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

If you already think that in-the-know social media accounts should be taken with a big punch of salt then this might need a shovel of the white stuff.

But, with two signings already in the bag in Steven Schumacher and Jon Walters' first summer transfer window at Stoke City, the huge database, algorithms and AI models behind Football Manager have tried to predict what might happen next.

Yes, that's right. It's not to be taken seriously apart from having probably a more comprehensive grasp of who are what is within Stoke's reach over the next couple of months than most of us could conjure up without spending days and nights scouting matches and reading reports. It's just a bit of fun but this is what a simulation of the summer of 2024 has thrown up for the Potters.

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Brace yourself but the headline transfer is the departure of Bae Junho, stolen by Mainz for the unlikely sum of £3.9 million. That might just about fund his left leg after an encouraging debut season in England, capped by a breakthrough into the South Korea senior national team.

Michael Rose is on the virtual move too, heading to Huddersfield Town and League One for a fee that could rise to £110,000 while young winger Nikola Jojic is shipped out on loan to Bolton Wanderers.

So where will the digital Schumacher, Walters and head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough spend the cash? There are three seven-figure signings, including £3.4m rising to £4.9m on Mykola Kukharevych, who has had a difficult first year at Swansea. It would be unlikely for Swansea to nearly double their money on 22-year-old who only made 10 substitute appearances in the Championship, scoring one well-taken goal against Millwall. He has previously shown signs of promise on loans at Hibernian and OH Leuven.

Stoke spend £3m on Jamie Cumming, the 24-year-old keeper who spent last year on loan from Chelsea at Oxford United, helping win promotion from League One. He had spent the previous couple of campaigns on loan at MK Dons and has previously been borrowed by Stevenage and Gillingham.

And £1.3m goes on Bayern Munich's Liam Morrison, the 21-year-old Scotland under-21s centre-half who spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic.

There is a £675,000 swoop for Brighton midfielder Marc Leonard, aged 22, who is another Scotland under-21s international. He has just had two full seasons on loan at Northampton Town, helping win promotion from League Two and then a 14th-placed finish in League One.

Next on the list is having a £500,000 offer accepted by Nathan Jones for his star Charlton Athletic striker Alfie May, aged 30. May scored 26 times in all competitions in the season just finished, having hit 22 and 26 in the two seasons before that with Cheltenham Town.

Scotland under-21s are plundered again for Josh Adam, a 20-year-old midfielder who is leaving Manchester City. In the real world there has apparently been interest from Bundesliga and Belgian top flight clubs as he looks to kickstart his career.

Nathaniel Chalobah is another free agent but at the other end of the experience spectrum. The 29-year-old midfielder has spent as a season-and-a-half at West Bromwich Albion after joining from Fulham. He had come through the ranks at Chelsea and has played most of his games at Watford, whether on loan or after signing permanently in 2017.

There are two loan signings; Man City left-back Josh Wilson-Esbrand and Liverpool forward Jayden Danns. Wilson-Esbrand, aged 21, split last season between loans at Stade Reims and Cardiff while England youth star Danns, aged 18, has had a brief taste of senior action at Anfield and signed a new long-term contract in March.

So that's how Stoke are shaping up by the end of August on the simulation even if it doesn't mention the fall out from riots that must have followed Junho's transfer to Germany.

But in general, a keeper, a left-back, a centre-back, three midfielders and three forwards doesn't sound like the wildest prediction of what might happen - although bringing in three midfielders without any leaving is certainly unlikely. It wouldn't be too big of a shock to see any of the players mentioned making a transfer to the Championship in the not-too-distant future.

Stoke have ticked off two important bits of business by getting goalkeeper Viktor Johansson and centre-half Ben Gibson through the door before the end of the first week in June and it is no secret that they will look to revitalise their attack before deadline day. It would be something of a surprise if that path took them to Kukharevych, May and Danns. In the million-to-one-shot that it does we had better run a simulation for the season to follow (and that weekend's lottery numbers).

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section