Stoke sign Barcelona starlet!

Posted by James Whittaker

David Ramos/Getty ImagesMarc Muniesa becomes the latest young Spanish talent to make the jump to the Premier League.

Stoke City are well and truly making up for lost time by snapping up Barcelona defender Marc Muniesa on a four-year deal.

Muniesa becomes Mark Hughes' third signing, the Stoke manager making good use of his Catalan contacts to seal the deal ahead of the likes of Ajax. Muniesa naturally arrives with an excellent pedigree, having come through the club's famous youth system on Spain's east coast, and despite signing on a free transfer, he is highly regarded in Spain. In fact, Muniesa is the second youngest player to make his full debut in Barcelona's history, at the tender age of just 17 years and 57 days. Despite an inauspicious start (he was shown the red card), he was named as a substitute in the Champions League final just a week later.

- Stoke bring in Barcelona defender

His early promise was such that Barcelona insisted on a 30m euro release clause in the contract he signed in 2011 before promoting him to the first team squad the following season. The season after that though was unfortunately one Muniesa would prefer to forget as he tore his cruciate ligament in a pre-season match and found himself injured as his contract ran down. But Barcelona's loss is Stoke's gain (I can't believe I just wrote that) as he now finds himself part of the Hughes revolution in the Potteries to test himself in the Premier League.

It's hard not to be impressed with this signing as it is a clear indication of intent, one that follows hot on the heels of Erik Pieters' arrival and is another good sign of Mark Cartwright and the manager working together to make a deal happen.

I'm not too sure what to expect, but I imagine that Muniesa will provide cover in the middle of defence and for left back. Hopefully we'll get to see plenty of him in the cup competition and no doubt he will be on the phone to his former club telling them that at least HE can do it on a rainy Tuesday night at the Britannia.

Signing a player before pre-season training is not something the Stoke fans are used to, but to get three in (including Pennant) is unheard of and bodes well for a manager wanting to hit the ground running as best he can come 15:00 on the 17th August at Anfield.

The times are changing, it feels good and more importantly it feels right; I can't wait for the new season and have no doubt that more surprises are to follow. In fact, having had a quick look at his Twitter account he's good friends with Thiago Alcantara, who is yet to sign a new deal or move on; have a word Marc, you'll need a good wing man up 'Anley duck.

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