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Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Stoke sign winger Jermaine Pennant on a permanent deal

Jermaine Pennant
Pennant made an impression on Stoke manager Tony Pulis

Stoke have signed Jermaine Pennant on a permanent deal from Real Zaragoza following his impressive loan spell.

The former Arsenal and Liverpool player arrived at the Britannia Stadium on a temporary deal in the summer after a relatively unsuccessful spell in Spain.

The Potters have handed him a two-and-a-half-year contract, having completed a £1.7m deal with the Spanish club which could eventually rise to £2.8m.

Journeyman Pennant, 27, said he "loves it so much" at Stoke.

The club are now awaiting international clearance and the subsequent completion of Pennant's registration with the Premier League and Football Association.

Potters boss Tony Pulis revealed that timing was the key to securing the deal.

"The biggest thing with Jermaine's deal for me was always going to be how late we could leave it to do it," the manager said. "I think if we had signed him straight away it would have cost us a lot more money.

I desperately wanted to stay here because I love it so much

Jermaine Pennant

"It was just making sure the deal was what we thought was right for the football club, and to do that we had to wait until the last minute. If we didn't get the deal we wanted, Jermaine would have had to go back and we would have moved on.

"I'm not sure it's brinkmanship, I just think it's understanding how the market works. We did our homework and we knew that Zaragoza were very keen to let Jermaine go.

"There was a club that was willing to sell, a club that was willing to buy and a player who wanted to come, so everything in the mix was right to get a deal done.

"It was just making sure that we got the deal the way we wanted it rather than the way they wanted it."

Pennant was delighted to finally secure his future at the Britannia, telling the club's website: "I think everyone knows how I feel about being at this football club.

"The supporters, players and management have been absolutely fantastic to me over these past four months and I desperately wanted to stay here because I love it so much.

"I know I have only been here a few months, but it really does feel like I have been here for years.


"The atmosphere around the place is brilliant, so I am looking forward to the fact that I am here at Stoke now for the long term and back in the best league in the world."

Pennant started his career with Notts County in 1998 before joining Arsenal.

While there he played for Watford, Leeds and Birmingham on loan.

His move to Birmingham was made permanent in July 2005 and he then joined Liverpool for £6.7m in July 2006, before signing for Portsmouth on loan followed by a move to Spain.

Pulis added: "Jermaine has made such a big impact since he has been with us and he has become a big favourite with the supporters, so I know that everyone will be delighted that we have completed this signing.

"The important thing has been getting him comfortable and settled, and now that we have done that I am sure he can go on to play an even bigger part in our plans.

"Natural wingers are hard to come by, but we have two of them with Jermaine on the right and Matty Etherington on the left, so that gives us a real threat down both flanks."

However, Pulis also warned Pennant that he must not rest on his laurels now he has secured a permanent contract.

"It's very important now that Jermaine realises and recognises that he has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and we are expecting him to continue playing as well as he has done since we've had him on loan," Pulis said.

"Players sometimes have something to fight and work for and they pull all the stops out to do that.

"We have given him the contract and the first thing I said to Jermaine was, 'Now make sure you don't take your foot off the pedal.'"

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