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According to the Mirror, Stoke manager Mark Hughes would like to turn Stephen Ireland's loan move into a permanent deal in January.
Ireland joined Villa from Manchester City in 2010 after seeing his chances severely diminished due to the influx of high-profile stars following the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group.
The Irish midfielder arrived at Villa in the hope of reigniting a career that had fizzled out somewhat, though the 27-year-old has been reduced to just 47 league appearances for the Claret and Blues as well as two loan spells at other Premier League clubs.
However, Ireland has impressed during his time at the Potteries—sufficiently enough for Hughes to want the midfielder in his ranks on a full-time basis.
In an interview with the Mirror, Hughes said:
Stephen is doing really well and we would like to make it more permanent.
There could be that possibility in January.
We could do it just for the flexibility to get us another loan. If there is nothing to use that loan on, though, there might be no point in doing it. We’ll have to wait and see.
Despite Ireland's immense talent, question marks over his application and desire have loomed large during his time in Birmingham and, with £60,000-per-week wages, Villa boss Paul Lambert may be keen to offload the midfielder.