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Stoke Announce Retained List, While Maybe It’s Not Ciao To Diao After All

  Less than a week ago it seemed nailed on that the Senegalese international midfielder Salif Diao would be leaving Stoke, with the player, who is out of contract, saying “I don’t have a serious offer from Stoke so if I get an offer from somewhere else, I might be moving.” This prompted several stories about other clubs lining up moves for the 32 year old, with the link to Championship club to Derby touted as the strongest.

  Now it seems the holding midfielder’s future could lie at the Britannia Stadium after all, as it has been confirmed that the club have offered the former Liverpool man a new one year deal. Stoke manager Tony Pulis is obviously a huge fan, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he does tempt Diao to stay on for a further season, while the fact that a whole fresh contract has been offered, rather than an extension to his current one, suggests that the improved terms that he was alluding to when he mentioned a “serious offer” have now been given.


Diao (centre) could now stay at Stoke

  Diao has been plagued with injury problems over the past season, but still managed to feature in 21 matches, and proved to be a decent experienced head to have in the squad. Despite the fact that his legs are clearly no longer what they were, and that he has the turning circle of a Boeing 747, I maintain that he could still feature positively for us next season, though the majority of Stoke fans seem to believe that it is time for him to move on. When he first came to us on loan from Liverpool in October 2006, he was fit, and proved to be a huge asset to the side as we pushed for promotion from the Championship. I’m aware that we’re now playing a division higher, but I still believe that, fully fit, he can stamp his mark on our games.


Diao scored past his now teammate Thomas Sorensen in the 2002 World cup

Meanwhile, the club have announced that the trio of academy products, Tom Thorley, Jimmy Phillips and Mark Grocott will join Vincent Pericard on the list of players released this summer, while nineteen year old goalkeeper, the delightfully named Danzelle St. Louis-Hamilton, who was promoted to the first team squad alongside them last summer, has signed a deal to remain at the club for a further year, after spending the second half of last season on loan at League One Bristol Rovers, where he never actually made an appearance.

   
The futures contrast for Thorley and St. Louis-Hamilton

  It’s never good to see Stoke’s young players fail to make the grade, but there’s no place for sentimentality in the game, and if they are not going to improve the squad, they have no reason to be offered contracts to remain as part of it. Hopefully all three of them will find new clubs and succeed in football. As for St. Louis-Hamilton, all reports are good, and it seems with a little more experience, we have a talented ‘keeper for the future on our hands.

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