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By ESPN Staff

Stoke break club record to sign £5.5m Kitson

Stoke have signed striker Dave Kitson from Reading for a club record £5.5million.

The 28-year-old has agreed a three-year deal to become Potters boss Tony Pulis' first summer signing.

Pulis told the club's official website: 'I think he's a natural goalscorer with great ability, while he's one that will work his socks off for the team.'

Kitson scored 54 goals in 111 appearances for the Royals but has decided to move on following the club's relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Pulis added: 'I've seen a lot of him over the years and have been impressed with his attitude from afar, particularly his ability to adapt to the challenge of moving into higher divisions throughout his career at Cambridge and Reading.

'His Premier League experience over the past two seasons with Reading is also an important asset for us because we need players who've been there.

'And I don't believe the size of any fee will trouble him. He'll take all that in his stride.'

Pulis had threatened to break the club's transfer record earlier in the week with a £4million approach for goalkeeper Scott Carson.

The club, however, withdrew from the chase and the England international has now opted for West Brom.

Royals boss Steve Coppell said, 'Dave was one of my first signings and I'd like to thank him for his contribution over the last four and a half years.

'I am sad to see him leave but it was his wish to play in the Premier League and Stoke have offered that avenue.

'We wish him the best of luck but his departure will open the door for the players who remain to demand a consistent role in the team.'

There is no sell-on clause to Cambridge and Royals director of football Nick Hammond added, 'Once Steve had decided that it was in the club's best interests for the deal to be done, it was my task to generate the maximum income.

'This has been achieved and the money is now available for Steve to strengthen the squad as and when he sees fit.'

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