STOKE CITY swooped to seal the signing of Steven N’Zonzi from Blackburn Rovers shortly before the transfer deadline . . . for an initial £3.5 million fee which could eventually rise to £5 million.
The French Under-21 international signed a four-year contract at the Club’s Clayton Wood Training Ground minutes before the window closed to round off a busy day which also saw the completion of deals to sign Charlie Adam and Maurcie Edu.
N’Zonzi has emerged as a versatile performer for Blackburn over the past three years and will further strengthen the midfield and defensive options which are now at manager Tony Pulis’ disposal following his summer signings.
Manager Tony Pulis was delighted to clinch the eleventh hour deadline day deal, declaring: “Steven is an outstanding young prospect.
“He has made a big impact in the Premier League since he arrived at Blackburn three years ago and I am sure he will prove to be an excellent addition to our squad. He is the type of player who will endear himself to our supporters.
He added: “We needed to freshen up the squad with new additions and Steven’s qualities give us good options in key areas of the team.”
N’Zonzi is relishing the chance to make a swift return to the Premier League, saying: “I am very happy to be here and I would like to thank Stoke for giving me this chance because I felt that I was ready for a move and a new challenge.
“There is strong competition for places here at Stoke, but that is part of the game and that can only help to make me an even better player.
“I heard that the Club was interested in me a couple of weeks ago, although I think they have been looking at me for a long time.”
He added: “It’s been a very long day and didn’t know if it was going to happen or not, but I am delighted it has all been sorted out.”
N’Zonzi began his career in French football with Amiens SC, but he made a £500,000 move to Blackburn after two seasons there.
He quickly established himself as a big favourite at Ewood Park where he was named as Player of the Year at the end of the 2009-10 season.
In his three seasons with Blackburn, he made a total of 96 appearances and his emergence attracted interest from a number of top clubs.