Should He Stay Or Go?
Should he stay or should he go? It’s the question many are posing towards Mame Biram Diouf.
The pacey striker has had two years in a Stoke shirt now, and opinion remains divided.
Much of this is down to the fact that Diouf has never really been given a prolonged period in his rightful position as centre forward.
Mark Hughes has utilised Diouf on the wing and even in the right back role- where he’s done very well in fairness.
But he wasn’t signed as a right back. Diouf was courted for more than a year and signed for a healthy wage following his contract expiry at Hannover 96.
So, after two years has Hughes seen enough to determine whether Diouf is the main man in attack? I think the obvious answer to that is yes.
Towards the back end of the season three central strikers were rotated in starting roles and still Hughes appeared to be no closer to determining who his main man is.
Joselu and Peter Crouch both had opportunities but, rather poignantly, it was Diouf for who had the final say of the campaign. The striker who should be the main man shutting up those questioning him with a thumping header.
In his first season at Stoke Diouf was top scorer with 12 goals. Last season was disjointed for various reasons, but he still managed five goals. 16 goals in 40 Premier League starts is a decent return.
There have been rumours of discontent, particularly when Diouf was left out of the squad for the League Cup semi-final at Liverpool.
Now 28, Diouf is running out of time to prove himself as a regular starter at Stoke and you wouldn’t begrudge him wanting to move away in the summer.
With a new striker clearly on the radar, Diouf’s time could be up. What does seem strange in all of this is that Hughes himself was a top class striker, but his inability to pick out a top-class front man for Stoke is baffling.
Hopefully that particular trend changes this summer.
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