Stephen Ireland joins Stoke permanently

Stephen Ireland has put pen to paper on a deal to join Stoke on a permanent basis.

Ireland had been on a season-long loan at the Britannia Stadium, but manager Mark Hughes was keen to sign the Republic of Ireland international permanently.

Following talks with Aston Villa, the club have completed the signing of the midfielder, who has made 16 appearances for the Potters this term.
“Stephen is a talented footballer and has shown what he’s capable of since he joined us. We’re delighted to have made his switch a permanent arrangement as it also gives us the opportunity to bring in another player on loan if necessary,” Hughes told the club’s official website.
The news paved the way for Stoke to complete the signing of Manchester City striker John Guidetti on loan for the remainder of the season.

Guidetti has been at City since the age of 16, but he has struggled to make the breakthrough due to numerous injuries and illness.
“We wanted to try and add different options to our attacking threat and John will certainly do that,” Hughes added.

“He’s someone who if you get him in the right areas will make the most of opportunities that come his way because he’s a natural goal-scorer.

“There were several clubs who were interested in taking him on loan and we’re delighted that he has chosen to join us.”
Stoke were unable to complete the loan deal until Ireland’s transfer had been completed.
Chief Executive Tony Scholes added: “We’ve had the deal to bring John in on loan on the stocks for a few days now but had to convert Stephen Ireland’s loan deal into a permanent deal to free-up another loan.

“We’re delighted to have brought John to the Club and are grateful to Stephen and Villa for their co-operation.”