Stoke City F.C. manager Mark Hughes has revealed he would like midfielder Stephen Ireland to ink a long-term deal at the Britannia Stadium.
Ireland, formerly of Manchester City, joined Stoke from Aston Villa on a permanent deal in January after impressing during his time on loan with the Potters earlier this term.
The former Republic of Ireland international, 27, is out of a contract at the end of the season but Mark Hughes is hoping the 27-year-old can agree a new deal in the coming weeks.
“We are very hopeful that something is going to be concluded very quickly,” Hughes said after his side came from a goal to win 4-1 at Villa Park on Sunday.
“He was really disappointed he couldn’t take part today but we hope it will be concluded.
“Stephen needs stability in his career.
“He hasn’t had that for whatever reason and now he will at a club where he will be settled and have the impact his ability is able to have on a team.”
Ireland, who has bagged two goals and two assists in 19 English Premier League appearances for the Potters this season, has proven to be a fantastic addition to Hughes’ side,which has been furthered bolstered by the signings of Erik Pieters, Marko Arnautovic and Peter Odemwingie.
Since joining the club in January, Odemwingie has netted four goals in eight league matches, while Arnautovic — a £2 million summer signing from Bundesliga side Werder Bremen — has totaled two goals and five assists in 23 games.
Stoke (9-10-12) are on 37 points after Sunday’s 4-1 trashing of Villa, which currently has them sitting 12 points above the relegation zone.
Sebastian Kehl signs new BVB deal
Borussia Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl has put pen to paper on a new one-year contract extension at Signal Iduna Park.
In addition, Kehl, who joined BVB from SC Freiburg in 2001, has confirmed he will retire at the end of next season.
The 34-year-old defensive midfielder has won six trophies with the club, including three Bundesliga titles (2001/02, 2010/11, 2011/12).
“Borussia Dortmund, our wonderful team, the fans and the city of Dortmund has been my home for many years. That’s why I’ve decided to continue this connection,” Kehl told bvb.de.
“I look forward to my last year in the Bundesliga. The right time is then for me to begin a new life.”
BVB sporting director added: “Sebastian is an important key player, has a huge wealth of experience and on top of that is a valuable role model.
“We are very happy that he is with us until 2015 and wants to end his impressive career in the BVB shirt.”
Kehl scored three goals in 31 international caps for Germany between 2001/06.