Stoke City sign Abrashi
Stoke City have started to pick up the pace of their summer signings now, after sealing a third deal under Mike Bassett, this time for Albanian midfielder Amir Abrashi, of Swiss side Grasshoppers. The 22-year-old has thought to have signed for around £2.3 million, sticking with the theme of staying within the budget for Mike Bassett's men.
With two of Stoke's leading midfielders, Glenn Whelan and Wilson Palacios, having already left the club this summer after the new Potters boss stepped up his efforts to cull the club's high wage bill, it was clear that deals were being worked on, although few expected the Albanian under-21 international to come in, with more rumours naming Nigerian Izunna Uzochukw as the player chosen by Bassett to be the replacement in the Stoke side. Whilst there are still unconfirmed reports that Stoke have applied for a work permit for that player, they have in the meantime signed this youngster too.
Whilst it has taken a couple of weeks for transfers to get moving into the Britannia, fans worries are now being quelled by the new arrivals - of which there have now been three. Much of the time spent by Bassett in the job has been used trying to lower the cost of wages being spent at the Britannia, either by selling, in the case of Whelan, or by loaning out, in the case of Cameron Jerome and also Palacios. However, these players have needed replacements, which Bassett has been able to find fairly cheaply, which shows that the English manager shares none of the fears over finances as his predecessor, Mark Hughes.
Abrashi, the Potters' new signing, has been well-received by their fans, and is believed to be the type of player that the squad is lacking. With Whelan and Palacios having now departed, the squad is lacking in the defensive midfielder department, and the team have lined up with two in defensive midfield in pre-season, so it is vital that they have enough players in that position to counter any eventuality that may occur this season.
Although the details of the contract have been left undisclosed by his new employers, the Albanian is believed to have signed a four-year deal at the Britannia, on around £4.4k per week. If this is true, then it is sticking to Mike Bassett's principles of not being held to ransom by players and their agents when it comes to contract negotiations. All three of his new signings this summer are thought to be on relatively small wages, meaning the new manager has one eye on his club's finances, despite them being in a very healthy state. The former Grasshoppers midfielder has been given the number 8 shirt, and could make his debut in the club's next friendly against River Plate at the Britannia.