Hughes faces tough Wollscheid decision

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Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is unsure whether to throw new loan signing Philipp Wollscheid in at the deep end against Arsenal.

Wollscheid joined Stoke on loan from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, the centre-back boosting Hughes' defensive options. 

And, after being impressed by the new arrival in training, Hughes could hand Wollscheid a debut at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

"We pursued Philipp because there was an opportunity to complete the deal. We felt this was a good chance to take," Hughes said.

"The timing of getting a new central defender wasn't what we anticipated, but we felt it was too big an opportunity not to take.

"He is a really good player, he is in good shape and he has arrived here in a good frame of mind. Having seen him in training this week he looks impressive.

"He is a good option for us. It is a big decision whether to throw him in at the deep end on Sunday, so we will wait and see."

Stoke missed out on the signing of Bayern Munich forward Xherdan Shaqiri, who agreed to join Serie A side Inter on Thursday.

However, Hughes takes solace from the fact they were able to hold discussions with the Switzerland international.

"We will pursue players who we feel that we can realistically get and Shaqiri was one of those," Hughes added. 

"He was one that slipped by the wayside, but we were firmly in the frame. If you read what his agent said then you will see that we were serious contenders.

"We can take a lot of comfort from the fact that we can get these players in the room now and have serious conversations with them. Maybe that wasn't the case in the past."

Stoke have never taken a point from their six Premier League visits to the Emirates, but Hughes insists his side head to north London with confidence.

"We are in a real good place at the moment. We have had a tremendous festive period and we want to build upon that," he said.

"We can go to the Emirates on Sunday in good spirits having produced a superb performance against them not long ago [a 3-2 home win last month] . We hope that the performance will impact us positively on Sunday."