Stoke finally sign a left back!

Posted by James Whittaker

VI Images via Getty ImagesDutch international Erik Pieters is a big upgrade at left-back for Stoke.

New Stoke manager Mark Hughes has made his second signing of the summer by bringing in Dutch International left back Erik Pieters on a long-term deal and in doing so plugs the biggest gap the side has, a round hole that has been crying out for a round peg for some five years.

The left back position is one that many have used to beat former manager Tony Pulis with over the years and rightly so. Despite having 10 transfer windows to bring someone in on the left side of defence, his continued insistence on playing those who specialised elsewhere on the pitch became a constant source of irritation.

That Hughes has managed to sign a left back (before the last half an hour of the window, too) of such quality within a matter of weeks of arriving should see a huge boost in supporter morale. Much like the signing of Jermaine Pennant, is a clear and welcome departure from the frustrations of old.

Pieters himself comes highly rated, attracting plenty of interest and arrives with a glowing recommendation from proven un-earther of lesser-known talents Graham Carr at Newcastle. In fact, Pieters would most likely have joined the Magpies if not for a metatarsal injury last season. With the ongoing soap opera at Newcastle, Stoke appear to have stolen a march on their North East rivals, with Joe Kinnear appearing to pass on a move for “Derek Heaters”.

In terms of statistics, he is young at 24, 6-foot-1, and has played almost 100 games for PSV. He has over 30 appearances in European competition as well as almost 40 for his country, and when you think all that has come for just £3m you start to realise just what pedigree and value the club have been missing out on by ignoring the foreign markets for so long.

As for his style, he is reported to be a leader on the field and a tough tackler to boot. If his penchant for spilling blood for the cause follows him to England (he nearly severed his arm punching the dugout after being sent off), then Stoke will have made a good start in their quest to keep that steely determination and passion in the squad while still adding quality .

Welcome to Stoke Erik!

Vis Unita Fortior

ESPN Conversations