Stoke Sign Paddy McCourt
Stoke look to be continuing in their bid to strengthen their squad ahead of the new signing, after confirming their second signing from Celtic this summer, this time Paddy McCourt. The Potters had already signed his former teammate MIkael Lustig earlier this summer, and have now brought in the transfer-listed midfielder for around £170k.
Arguably their best value transfer of the summer so far, Paddy McCourt's signing sticks with Mike Bassett's policy of signing players who don't demand an excessive wage packet, and also shipping out the deadwood in the squad. This has been what Bassett has spent much of his short tenure focusing on, although now he does look to be picking up the pace in terms of incoming transfers, now having spent over £5m, and brought in four players. McCourt is the latest in the string, but is not expected to be the last, with Stoke thought to be in talks for at least three more new faces.
This is the Northern Irishman's second spell in England, and he is thought to be very happy that he has finally been given a reprise after a seven year absence. He originally played with Rochdale in England's fourth tier for four years up until 2005, before being released after nearly 80 appearances for the Dale. He returned to Ireland and spent three years there with Shamrock Rovers and Derry City, which earned him a move to Scottish giants Celtic, giving him another chance to make something of his career.
In his five years in Glasgow, it's fair to say that the 28-year-old was fairly successful. He won a league title last season after fierce rivals Rangers were demoted to the third tier, and also won domestic trophies at Parkhead. He became a crowd favourite among the Bhoys faithful, who will be sad to see him leave, but was transfer listed by Neil Lennon earlier this summer, after falling out of favour with the Irish manager.
McCourt's signing has been greeted by a mix of reactions from sections of the Stoke support. Whilst some are continually pleased by Mike Bassett's ability to get a good deal on a player, some sections of the crowd believe that their new signing is not of the calibre that the Potters should be looking to bring in. Nevertheless, the attacking midfielder has faced tough challenges in his career so far, and will be looking forward to trying to win over the crowd as his latest.
Although once again the club have left the details of their latest signing's contract under wraps, an inside source says he has signed a one-year contract on £8.5k a week. This is a surprise to some people, who expected the club to try to tie down the player for longer, during his prime years. However, he is also only expected to be a backup player at the Britannia, and may not have wanted to tie himself down for too long in the final years of his career.