According to a report in the Express, Stephen Ireland and Stoke City are in talks to make the midfielder's season-long loan a permanent move. You may remember Ireland as that player that you likely forgot was still nominally a part of Aston Villa, but who came to the club in the terrible James Milner swap with Manchester City in 2010. In his 12 appearances with Stoke, Ireland has managed 2 goals, which doubles the amount he had in 47 appearances for Aston Villa. Mark Hughes, Stoke's manager, seems eager to bring in Ireland, and that's good news for the Irish midfielder.
Until a move in September, it seemed as if Ireland's career was effectively over, since he had nowhere to get regular playing time. At this point, though, it's hard to really feel too much about Ireland. Sure, he was a pretty terrible return on investment, but I don't think that was really his fault. I assume Aston Villa are still covering at least a portion of his wages, but regardless of whether or not this move goes through, he won't be a member of the club after the season, as his contract expires this summer. So, I wish him the best of luck. Maybe he can resurrect his career, or at least repair his reputation after what was, by most accounts, a disastrous spell at Villa Park.