Stoke City Complete Deals for Phil Jagielka and Lewis Baker

Phil Jagielka

Stoke City have officially completed two deals to get their January business underway. Having just departed a troubled Derby County, former Everton and Sheffield United stalwart Phil Jagielka has come straight into the heart of the Potters’ defence. Lewis Baker is the other man in question. Baker started the clash with Hull City on the bench after finally cutting his ties with Chelsea altogether. These date back to 2005 when he was just nine years old.

Stoke City Complete Deals for Phil Jagielka and Lewis Baker

Two New Arrivals

Starting firstly with Jagielka and after a year with Derby in the Championship, the Englishman has moved on to pastures new. At 39-years-old, he is certainly in the twilight era of his career, but his experience is unheralded. The issues that the Rams are facing off of the field are heavily trodden ground. Reports are suggesting that if a new owner doesn’t swoop in by the end of this month, then the iconic club will be faced with liquidation. Despite the points deductions totalling 21, Wayne Rooney has his men fighting tooth and nail to maintain their status as a Championship club, let alone an EFL one, recent results showing that anything is impossible.

Jagielka was forced out of the door at Pride Park upon his contract expiring due to the EFL preventing Derby from making any further signings. This, whilst coming at their detriment, is a huge plus for Stoke City. The other new arrival is Lewis Baker and after numerous loan spells away from Stamford Bridge, he has a new home. Vitesse, Middlesbrough, Reading and most recently Turkish outfit Trabzonspor are amongst his destinations since signing a pro contract with the Blues in 2014.

Baker has never really got the opportunity with Chelsea, even under Frank Lampard during the infamous transfer embargo. That being said, the quality is evidently there and it will be fascinating to see whether he can repay this Stoke City faith.

Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount are amongst the Chelsea loanees to now be amongst Europe’s elite. Baker is 26 and so whilst this may not be a plausible route, he still has time to establish himself in the English footballing period. Chelsea have a number of players on loan in the second tier currently too, whether it be Levi Colwill at Huddersfield or Jake Clarke-Salter with Coventry. Baker showed his class at both Boro and Reading at this level and so will be hoping to ramp this up even further.

What Will They Add?

Jagielka, as previously mentioned, arrives with heaps of experience. Michael O’Neill has an interesting squad at his disposal which boasts a complimenting mixture of youth and experience. Jagielka joins the likes of Joe Allen and James Chester as the men who have been there and done it.

Meanwhile, two famous names are amongst the younger squad members. Tyrese Campbell, son of Darren, has been at the fore for Stoke going forward when he hasn’t been injured. The other name is D’Margio Wright-Phillips, son of Shaun and grandson of Ian. D’Margio has broken onto the scene in recent fixtures and his touch-tight dribbling has fans on the edge of their seats already. The Hull City fans will tell you just this but maybe through gritted teeth.

Baker, on the other hand, arrives with promise and desire. He was a part of the England U21 side that were victorious at the 2016 Toulon Tournament. Managed by Gareth Southgate, Baker was joined by names such Ben Chilwell, Jordan Pickford and Jack Grealish there. As well as this huge potential which is yet to be fulfilled, there must be a hunger. Having been touted for such heights, and seeing his friends lift the Champions League last year, one must imagine that Baker arrives at Stoke with that fire in his belly to hit dizzy heights once again.

Jagielka was on the Stoke books as a school-boy so this is his career coming full circle. It is a smart free transfer and with Man City teenager Taylor Harwood-Bellis arriving on loan in this same window, his impact will be marvellous. The veteran can go some way to bolstering a shaky Stoke backline plus Baker will be keen to show what he is all about.

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