Stoke's latest buys to make debuts here

Stoke's latest buys to make debuts here
ark Hughes, who attended a football community coach education programme at Jalan Besar, says Stoke can benefit from Johnson's experience.
PHOTO: AFP

Few players are expected to make such a "hot" entrance to their new clubs but that is the prospect awaiting Stoke City's three new signings.

Full-back Glen Johnson, goalkeeper Shay Given and midfielder Marco van Ginkel will arrive in Singapore this morning, where they will join the team who will contest the Barclays Asia Trophy in the sweltering heat.

Local fans will be the first to catch Mark Hughes' three most recent acquisitions in action after the Potters confirmed on their official website that they had signed Given and van Ginkel on Friday.

Given, who has made over 400 EPL appearances, has signed a two-year deal after being released by Aston Villa. The 39-year-old had worked with Hughes during their time at Manchester City in 2009.

Van Ginkel joins on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

The 22-year-old Dutch midfielder was on loan at Italian giants AC Milan last season when he made 17 appearances and netted one goal.

On the sidelines of yesterday morning's Premier Skills launch event at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Hughes revealed that Stoke had also completed a deal for former Liverpool right-back Johnson, who turns 31 next month.

"Glen is a very experienced player and we can definitely benefit from that," said the manager.

"As for van Ginkel, I am delighted to have got him because he has shown, even with Milan last season, that he is a good, young player.

"I've known Shay for some time and he will give (Stoke goalkeeper) Jack (Butland) good competition in the goalkeeping department."

While the trio are Singapore-bound, two players who will not be arriving are goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and reported Stoke target, Inter Milan's diminutive midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri.

"My understanding is that Asmir has travelled to Chelsea and he will be announced as their player soon," explained Hughes, whose team meet fellow Premier League side Everton on Wednesday. The other sides in the competition are Arsenal and a Singapore Selection.

"We expressed an interest and put in a good bid (for Shaqiri) but we have now stepped aside and are looking at other options now."

When asked if Begovic had made the wrong decision to go from being Stoke's first-choice goalkeeper to having to settle for a spot on Chelsea's bench behind Thibaut Courtois, Hughes refuted the idea.

"People assume that he will be No. 2 but he (Asmir) will back his own ability and do his best to get game time," added the Stoke boss.

"He is a confident 'keeper who is accomplished and I am sure he will push the No. 1."

Stoke, who were ninth last term, have been active in the transfer market this off-season. Besides the latest signings, the Potters have already made three other purchases thus far - defender Philipp Wollscheid, goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard and striker Joselu.

Meanwhile, midfielder Steven N'Zonzi has been sold to current Europa League champions Sevilla for £7 million (S$14.6 million).

Barclays Asia Trophy tickets can be bought at www.sportshubtix.sg, box office at Singapore Indoor Stadium, hotline: 6333-5000 and all SingPost outlets

 


This article was first published on July 12, 2015.
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