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Sep 3, 2013

Coates hails new Stoke signings

Peter Coates is backing Mark Hughes to help deadline-day signings Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland resurrect their careers and repair their damaged reputations at the Britannia Stadium.

Stephen Ireland played for Mark Hughes at Manchester City.
Stephen Ireland played for Mark Hughes at Manchester City.

• Whittaker: Successful window

Stoke chairman Coates is fully aware that both players have arrived in the Potteries with a chequered history, which has seen their playing careers stall over the last couple of seasons.

Arnautovic has agreed a four-year contract after a £2.6 million move from Werder Bremen (rising by another possible £1 million with add-ons), while Ireland has agreed to a 12-month loan, with the possibility of making the move a permanent one, after being frozen out at Aston Villa.

Austrian Arnautovic fell out of favour with Jose Mourinho during his time at Inter Milan, with the Portuguese saying claiming the striker "is a fantastic person but has the attitude of a child".

His spell at Werder Bremen was littered with problems, including a had a petulant brawl with team-mate Sokratis Papastathopoulos during a training session, but Coates believes signing the duo is a risk worth taking.

"They are both talented players and are joining a club that will hopefully bring the best out of them," he told the Stoke Sentinel.

"Mark has been out to see the striker (Arnautovic) in Germany and likes him. He's got a bit of a chequered history on the personal side, but he is coming to a club with a squad of good professionals and that should be good for him.

"Certain clubs work for certain players and we are hoping he's going to be the striker who can score the goals for us because that has been one of our deficiencies.

"Friends of mine at Manchester City remember Ireland coming through the system there and he has since had his moments.

"His career seems to have gone in the wrong direction of late, but Mark knows the guy well and he certainly has a good pedigree as a player."

Ireland has not played since appearing for Villa in January 2013 and has been told he has no future at Villa Park, after being forced to train away from the first team.

The 27-year-old's contract with Villa runs out at the end of the season and he is eager to get his career back on track with his former Manchester City manager.

"I do feel as though I've got something to prove. I'm so grateful to Stoke City for the opportunity," he said.

"Mark knows how I play and how to get the best out of me. I had a great relationship with Mark at Manchester City and I was desperate to work with him and his staff again.

"I'm also looking forward to match-days again and the atmosphere generated by the fans because I haven't been in that kind of environment for quite a long time."

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