Joselu joining yet another coup for Stoke and Mark Hughes
When the rumour mill linked Stoke City, 25/1 chances with Coral to land the Capital One Cup next term, with a winter window move for Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri, many commentators labelled such a transfer policy wildly unrealistic and overambitious.
But Potters boss Mark Hughes has pulled off yet another coup with his third summer signing; German-born Spanish striker Joselu.
“He is excited about testing himself in the Premier League and we’re delighted to have him with us,” said Hughes. “Joselu has skills and attributes that are different to what we already have within the squad but will complement the attacking players we already have at our disposal.”
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) June 16, 2015
Poached by Stoke for the modest fee of £5.75m from Bundesliga outfit Hannover, the 25-year-old follows the earlier arrival of Danish goalie Jakob Haugaard and permanent capture of German defender Philipp Wollscheid.
Joselu, a product of provincial La Liga club Celta Vigo’s academy, spent time on the books of Real Madrid, but since 2012 has been playing in the country of his birth.
Getting double figures for goals across all competitions in the last two campaigns, he becomes the third Spaniard to be purchased by the Potters and Hughes. Former Barcelona pair Marc Muniesa and Bojan Krkic have both made homes for themselves in the Premier League.
Adding a 6ft 3in striker to Stoke’s roster suggests Hughes wanted backup to ex-England international target man Peter Crouch, despite him penning a new two-year deal in the spring.
Two other Potters forwards in their 30s, Peter Odemwingie and Jon Walters, are out of contract at the Britannia Stadium to boot, so Joselu provides younger legs alongside Mark Aranutovic, Bojan, and Mame Biram Diouf.
Having such a front four is a far cry from and culture clash with Stoke’s ever-eroding old image under Tony Pulis. Although not averse to foreign signings, Hughes’ Potters predecessor would simply not be able to attract names that the former Barca and Bayern Munich player could.
Names from 15 different countries are currently under contract at the Britannia and, while such multicultural rosters are now commonplace throughout the Premier League, an attacking and continental style at Stoke is something to keep fans excited.
Joselu will soon find out who his competitive Potters debut could come against with the Premier League fixtures to be released the day after his arrival. If compatriot Bojan can come back from serious injury and forge a partnership with him, then Stoke could once again be sizing Europe in the future.