Stoke City: Maurice Edu signs as Tom Huddlestone deal stalls
TONY Pulis consulted with Jurgen Klinsmann before taking the plunge to sign Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu.
The 26-year-old American international will arrive for no fee if FIFA eventually rule he is a free agent because Rangers went into liquidation earlier this summer.
Edu's arrival on an initial three-year contract is likely to be too late for tomorrow's clash against Arsenal at the Britannia (1.30pm) – but it softens the blow of Tom Huddlestone's proposed loan signing from Tottenham falling through for the time being.
Edu played alongside Stoke newcomer Geoff Cameron in Mexico last week and Pulis later spoke with their international manager.
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"I rang Jurgen Klinsmann and he was full of praise for Maurice," Pulis revealed.
"He said that apart from midfield, Maurice can play anywhere across the back. I watched the tape of their win in Mexico last week and he played well alongside Geoff in defence.
"I asked Geoff about him and he only had good things to say.
"Maurice is not only a good player and a good athlete, but also versatile.
"It's important we have players who can slot into more than one position this season because the squad will be smaller if we move a few on."
Edu's appearance for America last week was important in proving his current fitness to Pulis because the Californian has refused to play for Rangers this season amid speculation over his long-term future.
A move to the Britannia sees him follow in the footsteps of Jamie Ness after his decision to claim he was a free agent and sign for Stoke instead of the newly-formed Rangers earlier this summer.
Edu, born of Nigerian parents in the US, made a name for himself playing for Toronto Blizzard in the MLS.
He was voted Rookie Of The Year in his debut season in 2007 and also won his first cap for the US, later representing his country at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2010 World Cup.
His success earned him a £2.6m move to Rangers in 2008 after agreeing a five-year deal.
He played more than 120 times for the Gers and won two titles during his time at Ibrox.
But his future was thrown into turmoil this summer when Rangers went into liquidation.
Players such as Edu, who refused to accept contracts with the reformed club, claim they are now free agents.
Edu's signing will further shake up a Stoke midfield already set to feature Cameron for the first time against Arsenal tomorrow.
Stoke's hopes of including Huddlestone at the start of a season-long loan have been dashed, however, after potential problems with his ankle were shown up by a medical.
The 27-year-old one-time England international was hoping to use the loan spell to regain match fitness after going a year without a senior game for Spurs and undergoing two ankle operations.
Stoke went back to Spurs to try to re-negotiate the loan deal to cover themselves financially in case Huddlestone broke down with a repeat of his old ankle problems.
The two clubs failed to reach any agreement before the deadline for tomorrow's match, but Stoke have not ruled out further discussions next week.