Stoke City have announced their first signings of the winter transfer window, with Stephen Ireland joining the club on a permanent basis from Aston Villa and John Guidetti coming in on loan from Manchester City.
The club's official Twitter account confirmed the double swoop:
Ireland has spent the last six months on loan at the Britannia Stadium, but he will now join up with his former City mentor Mark Hughes on longer terms.
Guidetti also spent time with Hughes at the Etihad Stadium after initially being brought in by Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2008, spending a couple of years in the club's youth ranks.
However, it was under Roberto Mancini that the 21-year-old got his first real break as a first-team player, spending the 2011-12 season on loan at Feyenoord, scoring 20 goals and making eight assists in just 21 Eredivisie starts, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
Since then, however, Guidetti's development has been halted by several serious knee injuries, preventing him from going out on loan and building on the prolific campaign he had in Holland's top flight.
The Irish Daily Star's Paul Little holds out hope for the striker going down as a success with his new side:
The Swedish international is now fit once again, and he will relish the opportunity at getting some first-team minutes under his belt, under a manager with whom he has previous ties.
Speaking to the official Stoke City website, Hughes said of Guidetti:
We wanted to try and add different options to our attacking threat and John will certainly do that.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.
Ireland has already made his impact known for the Potters this term, rediscovering some of his better form alongside the likes of Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi.
And, as Hughes noted, per the club's official website, his permanent signature means Stoke were able to bring in the loan deal of Guidetti, with each club permitted a maximum of two loans from their fellow Premier League sides:
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.
Ireland had found himself exiled at Villa Park in recent years, making just 34 starts for Paul Lambert's side in the three seasons he spent with the Birmingham outfit.
The Potters will be hoping that both players, one new and another slightly less so, will succeed in helping Hughes' Stoke City revolution, the club having dramatically shifted their priorities since Tony Pulis' dismissal.
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