Stoke agree permanent deal for defender Bruno Martins Indi

17 March 2017 11:23

Stoke are "very close" to agreeing a deal with Porto to sign on-loan defender Bruno Martins Indi permanently, manager Mark Hughes has confirmed.

The 25-year-old Holland international has made 27 appearances in all competitions for the Potters so far this season.

Martins Indi revealed this week that talks were taking place regarding a permanent move to the bet365 Stadium and in his Friday morning press conference ahead of the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea, Hughes said the deal was edging closer.

"I think there's a will and a hope on all sides that we get it done," said Hughes.

"Bruno came in and played exceptionally well. He walked through the door and his level of performances have been really high in almost every game he's played.

"It's not easy when you come to a new country and a new level. He had to adapt very, very quickly, which he was able to do, and embraced everything we are about.

"I think we are very close, in fairness, and then Bruno will be settled and understand where he's going to be in the next few years."

Martins Indi's only goal for Stoke came against Saturday's opponents Chelsea in a 4-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge in December.

Hughes' team gave Chelsea a good game that day, twice hitting back to draw level after falling behind, and the former Blues striker feels Stoke can take encouragement from that - and the point they earned away at Manchester City nine days ago.

"We gave a decent account of ourselves down there and we obviously had a good performance last time out and so we'll refer back to that as we approach the weekend," said Hughes.

"I don't think many people expected us to get any sort of positive result at Manchester City but we were very solid and had a threat up front, so all in all we are in decent shape and good heart.

"Chelsea are playing exceptionally well at the moment, so it will be a tough ask, but I think we can draw encouragement from how we've performed in our last two games."

Marko Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Wilfried Bony return to the Stoke squad against Chelsea.

Arnautovic missed the trip to Manchester City through illness while Shaqiri has been absent for six matches with a series of niggling injuries, including a calf problem. Bony was ineligible at the Etihad Stadium under the terms of his loan agreement from City.

Glen Johnson (shoulder) remains out while goalkeeper Jack Butland returned to training this week as he steps up his recovery from a long-term ankle injury in the hope of making his comeback before the season ends.

Source: PA


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