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Manchester City
Crystal Palace
3
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Werder Bremen
Borussia Dortmund
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Manchester United
1
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
Read
By ESPN Staff

Stoke smash transfer record to sign Palace's Cort

Stoke have smashed their transfer record by signing defender Leon Cort from Coca-Cola Championship rivals Crystal Palace for £1.2million.

The 28-year-old initially joined the Potters on loan back in November and after establishing himself as a first-team regular has now agreed a permanent switch in a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Cort has scored four times in 15 appearances so far at the Britannia Stadium and an additional £200,000 will also be paid if Stoke, unbeaten in the last 12 games, clinch promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

City's previous record transfer was the signing of striker Sam Bangoura in September 2005 from Standard Liege for a fee believed to be in the region of £1million.

Manager Tony Pulis was thrilled to make his second signing of the January transfer window after luring defender Andy Griffin back to the club from Derby last week.

'I'm delighted we've signed Leon permanently,' Pulis told the club's official website.

'Since he's come in he's been a smashing lad on and off the pitch who's also a real danger at set pieces.'

Chief executive Tony Scholes added: 'This club-record signing shows the club's determination to build a team strong enough to challenge for promotion to the Premier League.

'He's a vastly experienced defender who's done extremely well for us while he's been here on loan.'

Cort joined Palace from Hull for £1.25million in June 2006 before falling out of favour at Selhurst Park.