If Stoke summer centre-half signing Dionatan Teixeira turns out to be the new Ryan Nelson, as coach Mark Hughes has loosely alluded to, then the Potters have proved to be particularly adept at burying good news.
Brazil-born naturalised Slovakian Teixeira signed on at the Britannia on June 11, when the football world’s eyes were firmly fixed on a match between the 22-year-old’s country of birth and Croatia set for the following day.
No doubt the nine-times capped Brazil Under-17 will have shed a tear for the Selecao after their 7-1 World Cup semi-final mauling at the hands of Germany, but Potters fans will be curious as to precisely who Hughes has added to Stoke’s impressive centre-half ranks.
Since leaving his homeland to join Kosice’s youth team six years ago, Teixeira has had trials at numerous English outfits – including Newcastle and Manchester City – without showing enough to secure deals.
However, after featuring prominently for Slovak Super Liga side Dukla Banska Bystrica in recent seasons, Hughes has handed the 6ft4in youngster a three-year contract following an impressive try-out, with the Welsh boss accompanying the deal with ringing endorsements:
“Dionatan came in on trial and I’ve done that before with the likes of Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen, who we had the opportunity to bring in at Blackburn.
When you can look at players close up you get a better impression of what their capabilities are.
We did it with Dionatan and he looked really good. He’s a left-sided player, a young man but with a good presence. He’s a big guy but very mobile.”
Even fleeting comparisons with Nelsen should excite the Britannia faithful, as Toronto FC’s current boss enjoyed a fine career in British football, appearing over 200 times in a Rovers shirt during the Noughties and captaining the Ewood Park club in many of those fixtures.
Teixeira is a full three inches taller than the New Zealander, but holds a similar goals-per-game record to the numbers Nelson posted throughout his senior career, having struck four in 46 Slovakian league matches.
However, Stoke fans won’t be expecting to see too much of Teixeira this term, with Robert Huth, Marc Muniesa and skipper Ryan Shawcross also fighting for the spots immediately in front of keeper Asmir Begovic.
Stoke are 6/1 to be this season’s Southampton and finish highest of the teams outside of 2013/14’s top seven, and with Hughes snapping up some eye-catching names this summer – including former Barcelona whizz-kid Bojan Krkic – that looks a fine bet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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