Stoke City skeleton squad for next season as starting gun fires for summer transfer window

Stoke City's Wouter Burger (no 6) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game against QPR at the bet365 Stadium.
Wouter Burger hopes to build on his first season in English football. -Credit:Nick Potts

Stoke City, following dozens of transfers, a lot of nerves, disappointment, dread and relief, are on the same number of points with one game to go as they ended up with last season. It’s like Trigger’s broom. Everything has changed and stayed the same.

Except the squad is in a significantly different position than it found itself 12 months ago when Alex Neil and Ricky Martin were primed for an unprecedented reset.

By the time the retained list was announced in early May there were only 12 players left under contract who had started a senior game for the club and six of those – Josh Tymon, Connor Taylor, Tom Edwards, Dwight Gayle, Jacob Brown and D’Margio Wright-Phillips – would leave in the coming months. Injured Lewis Baker wouldn’t play until December, Jack Bonham knew he was going to be back-up keeper and none of the other four – Josh Laurent, Jordan Thompson, Tyrese Campbell and Ben Wilmot – has started 30 or more league games.

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This time around there will still be a fair bit of turnover. There are five loan players due to go back to their parent clubs, nine senior players out of contract and seven players heading into their final years.

But Ben Wilmot made the point in his interview this week that there is still a bigger core than when he turned up on the first day of pre-season last summer and walked into a near-empty changing room. There are a few players to build a team on for 2024/25 particularly as they will have hopefully grown themselves in 2023/24.

Wouter Burger, Bae Junho and Million Manhoef will be better, it is hoped, for a taste of the Championship while Mehdi Leris, Ryan Mmaee and Andre Vidigal will want to make a bigger impression in their second seasons in England.

In all, there will be 12 first team players who are heading into their first full pre-season at the club, which will be Steven Schumacher’s first pre-season too. There will be a chance for Sol Sidibe, Nathan Lowe, Emre Tezgel, Tommy Simkin, David Okagbue and Matty Baker to show how much they can be a part of things before decisions are made if they will benefit from loans.

There is still scope to do make serious tweaks or improvements but they are starting from a base of about 16 players who are expected to be around the scene going forwards rather than six. A competitive budget can be concentrated into where it can make a difference. It is no secret that Stoke will be in the market for a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and strikers but they are to improve the first team rather than assemble a whole squad. Or that's the plan.

Skeleton Stoke City squad for next season

GK: Jack Bonham, Scott Morris, Tommy Simkin

RB: Junior Tchamadeu

LB: Liam McCarron

CB: Michael Rose, Ben Wilmot, David Okagbue, Matty Baker

CM: Wouter Burger, Josh Laurent, Lewis Baker, Daniel Johnson, Ben Pearson, Sol Sidibe

RW: Million Manhoef, Lynden Gooch, Mehdi Leris

LW: Bae Junho, Andre Vidigal, Nikola Jojic

CF: Ryan Mmaee, Niall Ennis, Nathan Lowe, Emre Tezgel

Out of contract players: Enda Stevens, Ciaran Clark, Jordan Thompson, Wesley, Tyrese Campbell, Frank Fielding, Tom Edwards, D’Margio Wright-Phillips, Blondy Nna Noukeu

Loan players: Daniel Iversen, Ki-Jana Hoever, Luke McNally, Luke Cundle, Sead Haksabanovic

Who can Stoke rely on in their current squad to be part of a much better future? Have your say in the comments section