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Jul 11, 2011

Stoke take a chance on Woodgate

Stoke City have confirmed the signing of Jonathan Woodgate on a one-year deal.

• Stoke confirm Cole talks
• Stoke close in on Blues duo
• Shawcross: I'm staying put

Woodgate, 31, was a free agent after his contract at Tottenham expired at the end of last month.

The centre-back has infamously struggled with injury during his career, and last campaign he failed to make a Premier League appearance for Spurs.

Stoke have now offered Woodgate a chance of regular footballer, should he stay fit, after acquiring his services on a pay-as-you-play agreement. That entitles Woodgate to a regular salary which is much less than his Stoke counterparts, but which would be boosted when he plays.

Pulis told the club's official website: "The lad is a top class player and it's been well documented that he has had his injury troubles, but we believe that if his fitness is managed properly, he will play games for us.

"We know that other Premier League clubs were keen on signing Jonathan, so we are delighted he has chosen us. It's a chance we are taking, but one we were keen to take because of the stature and quality of the player.

"We've effectively taken him on a pay-as-you-play deal which just shows how desperate the lad is to get his career back on the right track."

Potters chief executive Tony Scholes added: "There is no doubt that we have acquired a player with outstanding quality and experience but he is one who has clearly struggled with injuries over the past two years.

"However, sometimes a fresh start can trigger a change of fortunes. Jonathan has been working very hard throughout the summer on his fitness so he is desperate to make the most of this opportunity and to play in the Premier League."

Woodgate said: "It was important for me to work hard on my fitness during the summer because I wasn't sure where I would be playing and I knew that would decide my future. So hopefully I can stay fit now because I feel I still have a lot to offer at this level.

"With the back-up from the medical and sports science department which they have here at Stoke, that can only help my prospects of doing that. I was thrilled when Tony Pulis asked me to come and join the club.

"I'd spoken to him a couple of times about the progress that Stoke have made over the past three seasons and his plans for the future in aiming to build on that success.''

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