MAME BIRAM DIOUF insists he is already loving life working under Mark Hughes at Stoke City.
The striker, one of four players to check-in at the Britannia Stadium during the close season, met his new team-mates for the first time yesterday when the players reported back for pre-season training.
Diouf, who joined the Potters from Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96, spent the day at the Football Association’s St George’s Park training complex as the players underwent routine fitness tests.
City had pursued Diouf for more than a year and were delighted to finally land their man when his contract with Hannover expired … and the man himself is relishing the opportunity to play for Hughes.
The 26-year-old Senegalese international told Stoke Player: “As soon as I spoke to Mark Hughes for the first time I knew I wanted to play for him. When you know you are wanted you by a manager you immediately want to do the very best you can for him, the club and the fans.
“I’m really happy to be back in England and a Stoke City player and I can’t wait for the season to really get underway.
“It was good to meet my new team-mates for the first time. I’m getting to know the guys and I’m sure by the time the season starts we’ll be well acquainted.”
Diouf and the Club’s other new signings, Steve Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Dionantan Teixeira, will spend the next week training at Clayton Wood before flying to Germany for the Potters’ 12-day training camp.
While in Germany City will play three games against Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1860 Munich and Schalke and stokecityfc.com will be with them every step of the way.