Stoke City: Tony Pulis's delight as Robert Huth signs on for long-term
TONY PULIS hailed Robert Huth as one of his very best Premier League signings after the German committed himself to the club for the next four years.
The 27-year-old centre-half has ended speculation about his future by putting pen to paper on a three-year extension to his current deal, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2015/16 season.
Huth cost a then-club record £6m from Middlesbrough in August 2009, but has since helped repay that fee with a string of outstanding performances that saw him crowned Stoke's player-of-the-year in the 2010-11 season and named joint winner of last season's players' player award with his central defensive partner Ryan Shawcross.
The Germany international's former deal had just 12 months to run, which would have put pressure on Stoke to consider selling him rather than risk losing their prize asset on a free transfer next summer.
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However, Pulis, below, was always confident of getting a deal done.
The manager said: "Huthy stands out as one of the best signings this club has made since we were promoted to the Premier League, so it's fantastic news that he is staying put for the long term.
"It's a massive boost for us all and I know our supporters will be especially pleased because they have really taken to him since he joined us.
"They love the committed way he approaches the game and that is one of his many attributes."
Huth has rarely been out of Pulis's team over the last three years while making 130 appearances for the Potters, mainly in central defence, but also on either side at full-back. He's also proved to be a huge threat in both penalty areas, scoring 17 goals for City.
Huth began his professional career at Chelsea and made 62 appearances for the Londoners before a £6m move to Middlesbrough in 2006.
However, he says nothing has compared to his time at Stoke.
He said: "I am delighted it has all been sorted out before the start of the season.
"I've had a fantastic time here, the best three years of my career. It's been great to play a big part in the club's progress over that period, but also to gain some personal recognition with the player-of-the-year awards which I won at the end of the last two seasons.
"I have ambitions in the game and I am relishing the chance to achieve them here at this football club, so I can't wait for the new season to come around."
He later added, via Twitter: "I'm definitely going to have to learn the words to Delilah now."
Huth's decision could persuade Stoke to allow Matthew Upson to leave in search of regular first-team football.
The former England defender impressed over 23 appearances for City after joining on a free transfer from West Ham last summer.
However, he only started 10 Premier League games as Pulis mostly stuck with the central defensive partnership of Huth and Shawcross.
Stoke will have cover in central defence if Jonathan Woodgate accepts the one-year contract he has been offered.
Upson has a year left on his contract, but promoted Southampton are said to head a list of potential suitors.