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Stephen Ireland. Photo by: avfc.co.uk

As transfer window closes, Stephen Ireland heads for Stoke City

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Stephen Ireland. Photo by: avfc.co.uk

The transfer window in England finally went green on Tuesday when Stephen Ireland completed his move to Stoke City, Hull made another big money offer for Shane Long and fellow striker Kevin Doyle looked set to join Middlesbrough.

Ireland has turned his loan move from Aston Villa into a permanent deal, much to the delight of Potteries boss Mark Hughes.

But Steve Bruce’s latest attempt to sign Long from West Brom took a turn for the worst on Tuesday afternoon when the Midlands club turned down a $6 million bid for the Tipperary man.

Ireland was the only move involving an Irish player to close on Tuesday when Hughes, his former boss at Manchester City, turned his Stoke loan into a permanent deal.

Hughes said, “Stephen is a talented footballer and has shown what he’s capable of since he joined us at the start of the season.

“We’re delighted to have made his switch a permanent arrangement as it also gives us the opportunity to bring in another player on loan.”

Long’s on-off switch from West Brom to Hull City took another twist when Tigers boss Bruce had his latest bid turned down by his Premier League rivals.

Hull owner Assem Allam had hinted a deal was imminent early on Tuesday when he said, “I hope so. I think we agreed terms. It’s a matter of talking, getting the club to release and the player to agree.”

But the move failed to materialize when West Brom told Hull to raise their offer or forget about signing the Irishman who has also attracted interest from Stoke City and Newcastle United.

Long himself is clearly fed up of all the transfer talk and told the Birmingham Mail newspaper, “I have always said I’m happy and settled here and I’ve got family who like living in the area.

“I suppose if a club doesn’t want you, what’s the point in staying? It’s business at the end of the day and we’ve got a lot of options up front.”

Long’s Irish teammate Doyle, struggling to get into the Wolves team of late, was the subject of a loan bid from championship side Middlesbrough late on Tuesday.

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