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Stoke City officially nab Aston Villa's Ireland

Well, we don't have to put up with him now.

Warren Little

In what is sure to be the day's biggest move, Stoke City have signed Stephen Ireland to a one-year loan that will leave many Aston Villa fans heartbroken. Heartbroken, that is, because it's not permanent. Regardless, Villa have gotten the underachieving midfielder off of their hands, and one hopes that Ireland can do just enough at Stoke City to make them want to make the move permanent. God knows we don't want to be writing about him again next summer. Mat Kendrick is reminding us that Ireland's contract is up next summer. So, farewell Stephen!

After his transfer from Manchester City as part of the James Milner deal in 2010, Ireland was never quite able to mesh with his new club. And really, that's a shame. He showed moments of skill, and we all know from his 2008-09 season that he has the ability to be a star player in him.

But now he'll have to try and prove that again under Stoke City manager Mark Hughes, under whom he was last successful. The real upside of this story though? We've not got to think about him for a good long while.

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