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Stoke boss Hughes: I tried to sign Zouma for QPR

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes admits signing Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma ended a five-year pursuit.

Stoke jumped to the front of the queue partly thanks to Hughes's groundwork about five years ago, when he was in charge at Queens Park Rangers and tried to bring in the centre-back from St Etienne.

Hughes, who is ready to hand Zouma his first run out in a Stoke shirt on Tuesday night at Sheffield United, said: "We're delighted. When you've had contact with players before – and I came close to signing him at a previous club when he was only 16 or 17 – sometimes that can help. You can say, 'I wanted you five years ago and now we've got an opportunity to get you to my club again and I want to do it.' That resonates with players sometimes.

"We're pleased. He's an outstanding player clearly. You don't sign an extension to your Chelsea contract unless you're very well thought of. We've got a very good player."

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Paul Vegas

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