Former Stoke City defender Carl Hoefkens is looking to make Andy Carroll one of his first signings at Club Brugge, along with Benik Afobe.
Afobe, 29, is set to end his four-year spell at Stoke and join the Belgian champions as they prepare for a Champions League campaign under new boss Hoefkens. The Belgian press have hinted that ‘a few million euros should be enough to find a quick deal’ for a player who is now in the final 12 months of his contract but hasn’t played a league game for Stoke since 2019, having had spells on loan at Bristol City, Trabzonspor and Millwall.
He could line up with Carroll, 33, who has been one of the most highly regarded free agents in the Championship since leaving West Bromwich Albion.
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The former Newcastle, West Ham and Liverpool target man made headlines this summer after marrying Only Way Is Essex star Billi Mucklow, but has now returned from a honeymoon in Mexico and it is believed that he left directly to discuss a short term affair in Bruges. He featured for Reading in the first half of last season and then netted three times in 15 appearances for Albion.
Stoke stays after a new number nine himself after releasing Steven Fletcher – and the exit of big money earning Afobe will be a milestone as Michael O’Neill reshapes his squad under fair play constraints financial.
Liam Delap, perpetually linked on loan at Stoke, has been put in the Brighton frame by the Daily Mail. The 19-year-old is currently out with England at the Under-19 level.