Stoke end Shaqiri interest but bring in Van Ginkel, Given and Johnson
Stoke City are now evens with Coral for a top 10 finish after landing Chelsea’s Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel on a season-long loan, and taking veteran Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given on a free transfer from Aston Villa.
Potters boss Mark Hughes has also confirmed free agent, former Liverpool full back and ex-England international Glen Johnson will be joining the club on a two-year deal ahead of their participation in the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore.
“Glen is a very experienced player and we feel the qualities he has will help us,” Hughes said. “We’re a team that is trying to progress and do that by getting good players into the squad. Glen has played at a high level for a very long time and we can benefit from that.”
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Also agreeing a club record fee of £12m with Inter Milan for Switzerland creative midfielder and winger Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke have ended their interest in the former Bayern Munich man, however, as he failed to respond to a discussion of personal terms.
This latter point might seem like a blow, but the Potters will chase an alternative marquee signing to play across advanced midfield areas.
Box-to-box player Van Ginkel’s arrival from Stamford Bridge suggests an £8m switch for Stoke stopper Asmir Begovic in the opposite direction is imminent.
“Marco is the kind of player we have been looking to bring to the club,” Hughes said of Van Ginkel. “He will bring great energy to the side and is capable of scoring goals from midfield, as he showed during his time with Vitesse.”
Give, meanwhile, has penned a two-year contract at the Britannia Stadium. “Shay will not only be a great asset on the pitch as an outstanding goalkeeper but he’s also a fantastic character to have in the dressing room and around the club,” added Hughes. “He’s a true professional.”
Stoke are intriguing 11/1 chances to break into the top six, and are clearly assembling a squad that looks capable of challenging for European football, so this price may well be worth a punt.