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Jonathan Woodgate: Shrewd Transfer or Deadwood?

Tuesday 12th July 2011
"Hopefully I can stay fit now because I feel I still have a lot to offer at this level."

These are the words of former Real Madrid centre half, Jonathan Woodgate, who is trying to kick start his career back to life at Stoke City.

Stoke supreme Tony Pulis has taken a risk on the recently released Tottenham defender, and it is still to be seen which Jonathan Woodgate will turn up in the Potteries.

Will it be the Woodgate whose talents have amassed an impressive £35 million in transfer fees, seeing him turn out for European heavy weights Real Madrid, helping guide Leeds United to the Semi-finals of the Champions League and a league cup final winning goal for Tottenham  OR will it be the injury ravaged defender who had to drop out of a World Cup squad and took a year to make his début for Real Madrid because of injury, for him to only score an own goal and get sent off when he finally has his chance to step out at the Bernabeu.

No one really knows at this moment in time which Woodgate will turn up but personally, I'm glad Mr Pulis has taken a risk on Woodgate. On his day, Woodgate is one of the best defenders in the league, and if he can stay fit and Pulis can get the best out of the 31-year-old then this transfer could be the shrewdest of the summer.

Jonathan seems to be the ideal replacement for the departed Abdoulaye Faye, and with the extra games Stoke will be play this season due to European commitments, the depth in the squad will be key.

Stoke have seemed to learn from previous mistakes and really have nothing to lose as the Middlesbrough born defender is on a pay-as-you play deal, which will surely  help keep the player motivated to succeed, and with the lure of an extension to his 12 month contract if he can get enough games under his belt, I'm guessing he will be chomping at the bit to prove himself.

This is different to the risk they took last year with Eidur Gudjohnsen who didn't seem to fit into the work ethic needed at the Clayton Wood training complex and was able to sit on a tidy pay package without adding anything to the Stoke first team.

Hopefully this transfer has opened the 'woodgate' for an influx of transfers at the Britannia Stadium, possibly starting with Carlton Cole joining in a £6 million deal from West Ham.

Lloyd Reddin; Follow on Twitter @lloyd_17
Lloyd Reddin
I'm a Stoke City season holder and try to get to as many away games as I can. I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at Staffs Uni and would love to the move into the industry.

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