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Stoke boss Hughes says deal close for Villa's Ireland

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has confirmed a deal is close for Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Hughes revealed that the club was close to agreeing a permanent deal with Stephen Ireland until the end of the season so as to free up a loan place, with Manchester City's young striker John Guidetti current favourite to fill any such vacancy.

"We've had conversations with Aston Villa and we would like to think that would be concluded," said Hughes to The Sentinel.

"We are pleased if it does come off and we have no reason to think it won't."

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