Giannelli Imbula has become the most expensive player in Stoke’s history after the club splashed £18.3million to land the Porto midfielder.
The 22-year-old signed a five-and-a-half year contract after what Potters chief executive Tony Scholes admitted was a race against time.
Scholes told his club’s official website: “Giannelli is a player we have been trailing for some time and we are delighted to have concluded a deal to sign him.
“At one stage it looked unlikely that we would be able to get the deal over the line but things accelerated quickly earlier today and Giannelli is really excited about the prospect of playing in the Premier League with us.”
Imbula’s arrival is another sign of the rising ambition level at the Britannia Stadium coming just five months after the club paid £12m to sign Xherdan Shaqiri from Inter Milan.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes said: “Giannelli is a good young player. He has great power, good ability on the ball and a great range of passing and there’s no doubt he will add to the quality that we already have at the club.
“He played against us in pre-season and although I was already aware of him, seeing him at first hand resonated with me.”
Imbula started his career in France with Guingamp before moving on to Marseille. He moved to Porto for around £16m last summer.
Stoke only broke their transfer record in August with the £12million signing of Xherdan Shaqiri from Inter Milan.
“We had to wait for a few things to fall into place, but we’ve got it over the line and that’s the important thing. We’re absolutely delighted with the acquisition,” Hughes said.
Van Ginkel departs
Meanwhile, Chelsea loanee Marco van Ginkel has left the Britannia Stadium to join PSV Eidnhoven.
Van Ginkel spent the first half of the season at Stoke, but has now switched to the Eredivisie.
The 23-year-old Dutch international signed for Chelsea from Vitesse Arnhem in July 2013, penning a five-year contract.
He suffered a serious knee injury in his first season and spent his second on loan at AC Milan.
It was announced last July that Van Ginkel would spend the 2015/16 campaign at Stoke, but now he has moved to Holland.