Benik Afobe lifts lid on £12m switch from Wolves to Stoke

Former Wolves striker Benik Afobe has opened up on his shock exit to Stoke in the summer of 2018 – just 11 days after being signed.

Benik Afobe
Benik Afobe

One of the strangest transfer tales of recent years at Molineux saw Afobe, after helping Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to the Championship title during a successful loan spell, bought for £10million from Bournemouth.

A chance to impress in the Premier League under Nuno seemed to be on the cards, but within two weeks he was sold to Stoke for £12m.

And Afobe has now revealed it came as much of a shock to him as anyone else, initially asking if they had ‘got the right player’ when told he was not in Wolves’ long-term plans

“I was on loan to Wolves from Bournemouth and everyone thought I had to play a certain amount of games for Wolves to sign me, but it wasn’t like that,” Afobe told The Beautiful Game podcast.

“Obviously they were top of the league so it was hard to break into the team, but I started seven and got six goals, so I did well.

“When the season finished I got a phone call saying, ‘Wolves want to sign you’.

“Obviously they’re in the Prem, I love Wolves and enjoyed my time there the first time and the second time with Nuno.

“So I’ve signed the contract and then a couple of days later I’m getting a message saying, ‘I think Nuno wants to sell you’. I was like, ‘What!? Have you got the right player?’

“They went, ‘He’s bringing in (Raul) Jimenez’. At the time Jimenez wasn’t really a bad boy like he is now. ‘He’s saying that you’re not going to play next season’.

“So I said, ‘What if I’m training really well, I’m on it and one of the best players in training, I still won’t play?’ He said, ‘No, you’re not going to play at all. You’re going to be with the under-23s’.”

Afobe’s departure for the Potteries was confirmed on the same day Wolves signed Jimenez, initially on loan, from Benfica.

“I left Bournemouth because I wasn’t playing week in, week out,” said Afobe.

“Callum Wilson and Joshua King were playing at the time.

“I was at Wolves the first time as the main man, with (Nouha) Dicko and (Bakary) Sako, doing my thing. To be sitting on the bench, it was foreign to me.

“Even though I wanted to be at Wolves because we were in the Premier League, I didn’t want to not play.

“He said Jimenez would be playing every game.

“At the time I’m thinking, ‘This guy coming in hasn’t really done anything yet’. He’s a joke now, he’s a big player – but at the time he hadn’t done anything.

“I was like, ‘No way am I just going to be on the bench’, and he said, ‘You won’t even be on the bench sometimes’.

“This is what the chief executive was telling me at the time.

“Maybe it was just politics but at the time I was thinking, ‘This is mad’.”

Afobe officially joined Stoke on loan as a player cannot permanently sign for two clubs in one window, so a £12m obligation was attached to the deal and activated the following January. There he managed eight goals before being sent out on loan to Bristol City, with his time there affected by injury.

He is now aiming to reignite his career in Turkey, on loan at Trabzonspor.

The 28-year-old headed to the Super Lig last summer after a difficult couple of years – his daughter, Amora, passing away in November 2019 due to complications from a severe infection.

“Gary Rowett was the manager at Stoke, he’d just gone to Stoke, and Wolves and Stoke are like 35 minutes apart,” added Afobe.

“I lived in Stafford, in between both. They’re telling me they’re buying James McClean, Tom Ince, keeping hold of Joe Allen. And to be honest with you, Stoke have offered more money than Wolves have. It was ticking all the boxes – more money, don’t have to move house, in a team that’s going to be challenging.

“I could’ve stayed at Wolves, but I wanted to go play and enjoy my football. So, more money, don’t have to move house, it sounded like a no-brainer. But I went and we were bad.”

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News