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Sep 2, 2013

Stephen Ireland makes Stoke move

Stephen Ireland has completed a season-long loan move from Aston Villa to Stoke, where he will be reunited with manager Mark Hughes.

Stephen Ireland has a broken bone in his wrist
Ireland is linking up with Mark Hughes for a second time.

• Stoke sign Arnautovic

Ireland, 27, who worked with Hughes at Manchester City, passed a medical after being given clearance to move on loan by Villa manager Paul Lambert.

The midfielder had been told earlier this summer that he did not figure in Lambert’s first-team plans and was free to leave as part of club owner Randy Lerner's attempts to shed some of the top earners from the wage bill.

Ireland -- who is earning £60,000-a-week -- has 12 months left on the four-year contract he signed when he moved to Villa from Manchester City for £8 million in 2010. It is believed Stoke will pay around half his wages for the season.

He has been looking for a route out of Villa Park for over 12 months, having last played a competitive game for Villa in January. He played the best football of his career in the 2008-09 season at City under Hughes, but lost his place when the Welshman was replaced by Roberto Mancini.

Championship club Middlesbrough had made enquiries about taking him on loan.

Meanwhile, Stoke have confirmed Michael Kightly has gone to Burnley on season-long loan as a replacement for injured Ross Wallace.

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