Stoke City have finally added Mame Biram Diouf to their squad, 12 months after Mark Hughes failed to lure the forward to the Britannia Stadium.
The Senegal international is best remembered in England for his spell at Manchester United, as disappointing as this ultimately was. During his three-year stint in the employ of the Old Trafford giants, he scored once in just five Premier League appearances, and had loan spells at former club Molde (2009) and with Blackburn Rovers in 2010-11.
Diouf eventually left Manchester and signed for Hannover for an undisclosed fee in January 2012, and this was a move which helped him get his career back on track. The 26-year-old scored 25 times in 57 league outings for the German club, who resisted the temptation to sell him when Stoke made an official approach ahead of last season.
Hughes continued to monitor his performances during the course of last term, in the knowledge that he would become available on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract. And chief executive Tony Scholes has now confirmed that Diouf has signed a four-year deal with the Potters, which will take effect from 1 July.
“It’s no secret that Mame is someone we have been looking to bring to the club for some time,” Scholes said. “Mark has wanted to sign him since he took over as manager last year. He has been a tremendous success in Germany as his record underlines that. He is keen to return to England and make an impact in the Premier League.”
Diouf, meanwhile, told The Sentinel: “I’m very happy to be here, it’s a great club. I know quite a bit about Stoke, I know more than you think. I’ve come here to get better as a player and do well. When I was at Manchester United I didn’t get a lot of games. Now is the time to come back to the Premier League and do my best. This is a new challenge.”
It has been a busy week for Stoke, who also announced the signing of Dionatan Teixeira from Banska Bystrica for a reported fee of £400,000. The 6ft 4in central defender, an Under-21 international with Slovakia, has signed a three-year contract and becomes the second defensive addition of the summer after Phil Bardsley, formerly of Sunderland.
Earlier this week Steve Sidwell also linked up with the Britannia Stadium club on a free transfer, having left Fulham at the end of the season. The former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder couldn’t prevent the Cottagers from losing their Premier League status last term, but he was largely recognised as their standout player of the campaign.