Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hughes optimistic over Imbula deal

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Feb 2016

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Stoke City boss Mark Hughes remains hopeful the club can complete the signing of Porto midfielder Giannelli Imbula on transfer deadline day.

Imbula is on his way to England to discuss terms with the Premier League club with reports suggesting a fee in the region of £18million has been agreed.

Hughes told a news conference on Monday: “We’re hopeful. It’s progressed quicker this morning. Last night it looked difficult. Our hope is that at some point in the day we’ll be able to announce a big signing.

“He’s a good young player with a good range of passing. I saw him in pre-season and it resonated with me when it was mentioned he might be available this window.

“It’s not something we’ve jumped into. A lot of work has been done over the past month or so. He’s travelling as we speak and hopefully we’ll get it done today.

“When we do go in the market it’s important we bring in real quality. We’ve got good depth and when you move you need to bring in the right quality. When the right player becomes available I’ve always felt I’ve had the backing of the club to bring him in.”

Stoke have also been linked with in-demand West Brom striker Saido Berahino but Hughes does not expect that move to come off prior to the 11pm deadline.

He added: “I don’t think I’ll surprise you with any others. It’s no secret that we have been in the market for a certain West Brom player but West Brom have been consistent in their message. We don’t expect that to change.”

Stoke visit Old Trafford on Tuesday looking to record a double over Manchester United and further their hopes of playing European football next season.

“Our performance against Liverpool [in the League Cup] was excellent and we’ll look to repeat that at Manchester United,” Hughes said.

“Man United had a good performance on Friday that will help their confidence but there’s no bigger stage than Old Trafford. If we can frustrate them in the early stages then maybe the frustration will spread from the stands.

“We’ve beaten Manchester United once this season already and we’ve shown we can beat the top teams. I’m sure it’s not a fixture that Louis van Gaal is expecting to be easy. He’ll know that they’ll have to play exceptionally well to win.

“There seems to be a bit of anxiety around Man United about their home form but let’s not forget they’ve got an outstanding group of players.

“We’ve been involved in cup games of late and had disappointments but at the beginning of the season our goals were set about progressing in the league – we’re still very much on track. We can really focus our minds. It would have been a nice distraction to have a cup final but we can focus on the league.”

Hughes expects to have Marko Arnautovic, Glen Johnson and Jonathan Walters available but Marc Wilson will, as expected, miss up to 12 weeks with a knee injury.

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