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Stoke closing in on Ireland and Guidetti

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes expects to complete a double deal in the next 24 hours, adding Stephen Ireland and John Guidetti to his squad.

Whittaker: Stoke need to address offence

Stoke are close to announcing the permanent transfer of Ireland from Aston Villa, which will free up a loan place and allow Hughes to sign Manchester City striker Guidetti for the remainder of the season.

Hughes is close to an agreement with Ireland, whose 60,000 pounds-a-week contract with Villa runs out in the summer. The deal will see the midfielder move to the Britannia Stadium for a nominal fee.

Ireland signed for Villa for eight million pounds almost four years ago and is believed to have agreed to take a wage cut to make the move  to Stoke permanent, allowing Hughes to complete a deal for 21-year-old Guidetti.

Premier League rules say that clubs are only allowed two loan players from the division at any one time, and Stoke also had Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi.

Hughes knows all about Guidetti from his time as City manager and has pulled off a major coup in signing the player, who was also wanted by Real Betis, Malaga and West Ham.

Current City boss Manuel Pellegrini has also played a significant role in the negotiations, identifying Stoke as the best place for the striker to begin his return from almost 12 months out through illness and injury.

"If we can get him in, he's a player that can add to what we have got and we are trying to add different options to our attack," Hughes said.

"He's a natural goalscorer, and if we can get him into the right areas he will take chances. He was there as a young player when I was at City and he worked with our under-21 coach Glynn Hodges when he was also there, so we know him."

Guidetti looked on the verge of breaking into City's first-team squad after scoring 20 goals in 23 games while on loan at Feyenoord in 2011-12 season, but an infection in his leg led to illness and he has not played first-team football since.


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