HAILED by many as the next Patrick Vieira . . . Stoke City pulled off something of a transfer coup when they agreed a dramatic late deadline day deal to secure the permanent signature of Blackburn Rovers star Steven N'Zonzi.
An all action midfielder, Steven became Stoke City's third arrival of the day when he completed a £5 million move to the Britannia Stadium, bringing an end to his three-year spell at Ewood Park.
The former France Under 21 international, who is largely renowned as one of the most highly rated youngsters in the top-flight, put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal with the Potters.
Still only 23-years of age, Steven had made a huge impression at Blackburn over the past few seasons, prompting a whole host of Clubs, including Tottenham and Arsenal, to enquire about his services this summer.
However, it was City boss Tony Pulis who won the race for the midfield powerhouse minutes before the summer transfer window slammed shut.
Born in Colombes, France, Steven began his playing career with hometown club Racing Paris, before he caught the eye of the Paris Saint Germain youth academy scouts.
They made an immediate move for the player, and agreed a minimal fee for his services, but after three years with the club he moved on to Caen, before finally settling down with Amiens SC in 2005.
It was at the Stade De La Licorne that Steven made his professional debut as an 18 year-old, and it proved to be a memorable occassion for the midfielder, as his side romped to an emphatic 7-0 victory against AS Raismes.
He impressed during his maiden campaign as a pro, and despite Amiens suffering relegation, Steven remained in demand, with the likes of Marseille, Portsmouth and Blackburn all battling for his services in the summer of 2009.
Rovers boss Sam Allardyce won the race, and concluded a £500k deal with the French side for his services, before being handed an instant Premier League debut in the opening day encounter against Manchester City.
From that moment on the midfielder hasn't looked back, and he was even crowned as Rovers' Player of the Year during his first full season in Lancashire.
He established himself as a mainstay in the starting eleven under both Sam Allardyce and current boss Steve Kean, featuring 96 times for the Club, however, their relegation back in May paved the way for the starlet to look for pastures new ahead of the current campaign.
Media speculation linked him with clubs both here in the UK and around europe, but it was Stoke who appealed to him most, and he became our sixth summer signing shortly before the 11pm deadline.