Stoke sign Stephen Ireland on permenant deal

Stephen Ireland is now a Stoke player (©GettyImages)

Stoke City have announced the permanent signing of Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa until the end of the season.

The 27-year-old was initially signed on a season-long loan in the Potteries, but Stoke have now taken over his contract until the end of the season - opening the door for the John Guidetti loan deal to be done.

Ireland has already made 16 appearances for Mark Hughes' side this season, scoring three goals along the way.

The Irishman's move to the Britannia Stadium saw him link up with Hughes once again, who he played under at Manchester City - where he made 140 appearances - before his switch to Aston Villa in 2010.

Manager Hughes told the club website: “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.”

With Ireland now signed and young striker Guidetti joining on loan from the Citizens, the Potters are now free to focus on their battle for survival in the Premier League.

They currently sit 12th in the table, four points above the relegation with 17 games remaining. And, it's a big one next up, with Hughes' side making the trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.

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