Writer: Tom Mckeon
Date:Monday July 11 2011
Stoke have completed their first signing of the summer by snapping up England defender Jonathan Woodgate on a one-year, 'pay as you play` deal.
The 31 year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his career but his ability has never been questioned and he will provide depth and experience to a defensive unit which excelled last season.
The former Real Madrid star`s transfer fees have totalled around £36 million since leaving Leeds for Newcastle in the summer of 2003 and having put pen to paper on a 'pay as you play` deal, he`ll be a risk-free addition to the Potters ranks.
Tony Pulis told Stoke`s official site: "The lad is a top class player and it's been well documented that he has had his injury troubles, but we believe that if his fitness is managed properly, he will play games for us.
'We know that other Premier League clubs were keen on signing Jonathan, so we are delighted he has chosen us. It's a chance we are taking, but one we were keen to take because of the stature and quality of the player.'
He started his career at Leeds in 1998 and after proving himself to be one of the most promising talents in English football at the Yorkshire club, Newcastle United splashed out a hefty £9 million for his services , before spells with Spanish giants Real Madrid, Middlesbrough and Spurs followed.
Despite his injury concerns, he`s an ideal signing for the club and there has been a general feeling among supporters at every club he`s been at - when he`s on the pitch; he`s a top class footballer.
Abdoulaye Faye left for West Ham earlier in the summer and I see Woodgate as a great replacement, we already have two fantastic centre halves in Huth and Shawcross but Woodgate will be superb backup and will fancy himself getting plenty of game-time in a campaign where Stoke will have to combat the Europa league as well as the already frantic domestic season.
So, we`ve finally signed someone! Who will follow Woodgate to the Brit though?
Date:Monday July 11 2011
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