There are several big names released by Stoke this summer, including Thomas Sorensen and long-serving defender Andy Wilkinson. While goalkeeper Sorensen is leaving after seven years, Wilkinson’s departure from Stoke ends a 15-year teamwork with his hometown club. Neither Sorensen nor Wilkinson played a significant role for Mark Hughes’ squad this term.
Wilkinson made one appearance either side of a loan spell at Millwall, and Sorensen sitting out the entire season. Wilkinson, 30, released by his boyhood club after making a total 194 appearances over his 15 years with the club. Sorensen played 129 times for Stoke over a seven-year spell.
Another player released by the club is Wilson Palacios, the Honduras midfielder who has commanded an estimated £20 million plus in transfer fees. He has been released after also failing to feature this season. His nightmare spell at Stoke has come to an end after the club released him. Stoke signed Palacios from Tottenham for £6 million bid in 2011, but he has started just 14 league games ever since. The midfielder has been sustaining injury problems, most notably to his knee, during his time at the Britannia Stadium.The club tried to sell the 30-year-old to Qatar Sport Club last summer, but he failed a medical and returned to Stoke, where he failed to make a first-team appearance last season.
Currently, nine of the club’s U21 squad join the three senior professionals are on the free-transfer list of Stoke City, while George Waring, Peter Skapetis, Joel Taylor, and Mason Watkins-Clark have been offered new deals. The coach has already signed a new keeper and defender to the squad by bringing in Sorense’s fellow Dane JakobHaugaard and turning center-half Philipp Wollscheid’s loan into a permanent deal.
A Stoke statement read: “The club would like to thank those departing for their efforts and wish them all the best for the future.”
On the other hand, the club chairman Peter Coates is confident that boss Mark Hughes has a competitive budget to significantly improve the club’s playing personnel this summer to fill the empty slots left by several players that has been released. Hughes wants at least one new winger, while other areas of concerns include full-back, midfield and strike force.
Stoke have already shown interest in several young players at the Nou Camp, but have also been monitoring the availability of their Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay. The club will head into the new campaign after a second successive top-10 finish and a highest-points of 54.