New Stoke City signings touch down in Singapore
The Potters have embarked on an extensive recruiting drive since the conclusion of the 2014-15 Premier League season, adding a number of quality pieces to last year’s squad.
England right back Johnson arrived from Liverpool and Given parted company with Aston Villa, both signing two-year deals, while Dutch international Van Ginkel has been secured on loan from Chelsea.
All three touched down in Singapore earlier on Sunday to join their new teammates and prepare for the Barclays Asia Trophy, a tournament also featuring Arsenal, Everton and a Singapore Selection.
They have been added to earlier signings Joselu, Philipp Wollscheid and Jakob Haugaard as manager Mark Hughes continues to shape a side that finished ninth last season.
“I had a conversation with the manager and it was very good,” Van Ginkel said of his decision to join Stoke. “It’s always important to speak to the manager, to see what he’s thinking about your place in the team.
“I had a very good feeling to come to Stoke, I’m happy to be here and it’s good to meet all the boys for the first time in Singapore. I am looking forward to a great week of football.”
Stoke meet Everton in the opening clash at the Singapore Sports Hub on Wednesday, followed by the Gunners against the Singaporean selection.
A third-place playoff and the final will then be held on Saturday.
Given competed in the 2011 Barclays Asia Trophy with Villa and believes it’s an ideal way to prepare for the upcoming season.
“It is great because even though it is a long way away, we know how big the Barclays Premier League is in this part of the world," he said.
“It’s great they can come and see the Premier League players live. It was great in Hong Kong four years to play in front of big crowds.
“We are all preparing for the Premier League, so it’s good we have Premier League opposition. The stronger the opposition the quicker we can get up to speed, so it will be good for us.”
Charlie Adam, Marko Arnautovic, Mame Biram Diouf, Jonathan Walters, Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson also arrived in Singapore on Sunday, given some extra time off due to international commitments.
Tickets for the Barclays Asia Trophy are now on sale. They can be purchased online at www.sportshubtix.sg, by calling (+65) 3158 7888, at the Singapore Sports Hub box office or at any Singpost outlet.
Photo: Mark Scott