Sport

Stoke City sign 23-year-old Giannelli Imbula in club-record £18.3m deal

RECORD SIGNING: Giannelli Imbula

RECORD SIGNING: Giannelli Imbula

STOKE CITY broke their transfer record to sign Porto midfielder Giannelli Imbula for £18.3million.

The club’s boss Mark Hughes described the 23-year-old as a “big signing for us”.

“He’s a good young player, good power, good ability on the ball, a good range of passing, someone who will come in and add to the quality we’ve already got,” he said.

Giannelli was a record signing when Porto bought him for €20m from Marseille in 2015 but Stoke have been working on the deal for a month after Hughes was impressed with the player during his side’s pre-season friendly against Porto last summer.

“Having seen him first hand that experience resonated with me when it was mooted that he may be available this window,” Mark added.

Giannelli has signed a five-and-a-half year contract with the club and is said to be “really excited about the prospect of playing in the Premier League with us,” said Potters chief executive Tony Scholes.

His arrival is another sign of the rising ambition level at the Britannia Stadium coming just five months after the club paid £12m to sign Xherdan Shaqiri from Inter Milan.

Giannelli started his career in France with Guingamp before moving on to Marseille. He moved to Porto for around £16m last summer.

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