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Liverpool Winger's Exit Plan Stalls

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Stoke City's efforts to sign Oussama Assaidi have reportedly hit a snag, with chief executive Tony Scholes noting the presence of a number of difficulties in bringing the Moroccan winger to the Britannia on a permanent basis.

Scott Heavey

With Liverpool's attempts to bring players in taking most of the headlines, business in the other direction has understandably taken a back seat. Most of that is down to the fact that there just aren't that many regular first-teamers likely to make an exit; of those who played regularly in the 2013-2014 season, it's hard to see the club actively pushing anyone out despite rumors that they're open to offers for Lucas, Daniel Agger, and Glen Johnson among others.

The fringe players and loanees are a different matter, with very few outside the preferred 12 or 13 in the squad certain of an immediate future at the club. Loan deals for Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho were never going to turn into anything longer-term, and Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto are both strongly linked with moves away. The same mostly goes for the players that left Liverpool on loan last season, as Oussama Assaidi and Fabio Borini have both been the subject of speculation that they'd make a permanent return to Stoke City and Sunderland, respectively.

Talk of a deal for Assaidi has been constant, but difficulty returning from a knee injury and failure to find an agreeable fee has reportedly delayed the deal. And, according to Stoke City chief executive Tony Scholes, that might be enough to leave the deal in tatters:

"We've spoken to Liverpool about Oussama and we've spoken to his agent. Sometimes deals look difficult to do and this one, if I'm frank, this is in the very difficult section.We'll see. He had a great season with us last year. We like him a lot, we know what he can bring to the club and he knows the club, that's an advantage.There is always a risk with any purchase of a player, but those are reduced substantially when you have had that player with you. It's a deal we would like to do, but we will have to wait and see."

There's always a certain amount of gamesmanship to account for during transfer season--you can never be entirely sure what serves as a simple statement of fact and what goes public in an effort to sway a deal in one direction or another. This looks like the latter unless talk of lingering knee problems prove true, and haggling over the price seems to be the culprit.