With Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi being linked with moves to QPR and a handful of Dutch clubs throughout the summer, it seemed only a matter of time before the 25-year-old Moroccan international departed Anfield after a disappointing first season in English football. What's somewhat surprising, though, is his destination, with Stoke City nipping in to capture the out of favour attacker.
With the player unwilling to move to QPR in the Championship and a handful of potential permanent deals to move back to the Eridivisie fizzling, the seemingly unlikely destination of Stoke City on a season-long loan has been arranged. Having agreed to the move, Assaidi is today undergoing a medical at the West Midlands club with official confirmation expected to follow shortly.
Arriving at Liverpool last summer for £3M last summer, Assaidi failed to make an impact and soon found himself well out of manager Brendan Rodgers' plans, making a total of only four substitute appearances in the league. He started four times and came off the bench twice the Europa League, and started twice in the League Cup. Liverpool will be hoping a strong showing under Mark Hughes at Stoke will lead to the club being able to turn a slight profit on a permanent move for Assaidi next summer.
Assaidi's departure, especially coming on the heels of Stewart Downing's permanent move to West Ham, will do little to dampen speculation Liverpool will make at least one—and perhaps even two—signings to fill the growing void on the wing. Given the club's failures last summer to replace Andy Carroll, to not do so would seem reckless even if the two players who have left were unlikely to provide more than squad depth.
Update: Liverpool have now confirmed Assaidi's loan move.