Stoke Focus – The curious case of Wilson Palacios

News emerged this week that Stoke would finally look to offload Wilson Palacios in the summer transfer window.

For the majority of Potters supporters, the news will bring a huge sigh of relief as the Honduran’s sorry chapter at the Britannia comes to end, provided there are any takers for his services. However, one wonders how it has come to this for the midfielder, who just a few seasons ago was being linked with moves to the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid; eventually becoming a figurehead in Tottenham’s march to first qualification for, and then progress through to the quarter finals of, the Champions League.

His form may have tailed off a little towards the end of his time at White Hart Lane but it was still almost universally thought that Palacios’ signing in August 2011 represented a massive coup for Tony Pulis’ men.

Stoke have often had midfielders who can destroy, but Palacios appeared to be bringing more than that. Here the Potters had a midfielder who not only represented one of the best tacklers and ball-winners in the league, but could play too, with an impressive passing range or an all-too-rare ability to run with the ball and drive at opposition defences.

Palacios was supposed to be the symbol of the evolving Stoke City that Pulis was formulating – a side that could play, as well as continue to adhere to the determined traditions that had marked the club since their arrival in the Premier League in 2008.

Frankly however, the Palacios transfer has been nothing short of a disaster for the club, player and manager and it is one that is often used as the first example of Pulis’ expensive failures in the transfer market.

The Honduran has struggled for fitness ever since arriving in the Potteries and that may perhaps attribute to only making 32 appearances in all competitions, with nine of those coming as league starts, in just under two seasons.

However, in the few times that he has taken his place in the starting XI or come off the bench, the 28-year-old has looked a shadow of the player he once was. Gone is the drive, the passion and above all the quality that once marked him out as one of the league’s finest midfielders.

At the beginning of this season, Pulis spoke of the high expectations he had for Palacios after his disappointing first campaign but instead it has only regressed further with only four appearances, all coming as a substitute in the league.

So who is to blame? It is all too easy to blame the manager, just as he is being blamed for everything that is currently going wrong at the club. But really in the curious case of Wilson Palacios, the player can only blame himself.

Here was a player that, on paper, was absolutely perfect for Stoke. Instead, due to his own poor performance and commitment, that dream has turned sour.

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