STOKE CITY have today completed the permanent signing of midfielder Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa.
The Republic of Ireland international had been on a season-long loan at the Britannia Stadium but that agreement has been converted into a permanent transfer, thus giving the Potters scope to move into the loan market again.
Ireland has made 16 appearances for Mark Hughes' side and has contributed three league and cup goals.
Manager Hughes told stokecityfc.com: "Stephen is a talented footballer and has shown what he's capable of since he joined us. We're delighted to have made his switch a permanent arrangement as it also gives us the opportunity to bring in another player on loan if necessary."
Ireland's move to the Britannia Stadium saw him link-up with Hughes for the second time in his career having had a highly productive spell under him at Manchester City.
He made more than 140 league appearances for City before joining Villa in August 2010 in a part-exchange deal that saw James Milner head in the opposite direction.