Stoke City’s new signing Mame Biram Diouf has been speaking ahead of the new season.
The 26-year-old is familiar with the Premier League, having played for both Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers in the past. But Diouf’s career did not really take off until he left Old Trafford and headed to Germany.
It was there, at Bundesliga side Hannover, that the Senegal frontman blossomed, scoring 35 goals and setting up a further 15 in 71 appearances.
Diouf had arrived at United from Norwegian side Molde, where he had scored 33 times for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club. But he failed to replicate that form in England, which is something he can soon put right.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the Stoke striker said, “I am a much better player than the one that left Manchester United, of course I am.
“I am 26 now, not a 21-year-old, and I have got a lot more maturity, a lot more games in my legs and confidence in myself.”
There is no doubt Diouf’s record in recent times hints at a far superior player than the one who failed to make the grade at United.
And as a former striker himself, one senses Stoke boss Mark Hughes knows exactly how to get the best out of his new signing.
Diouf scored just one senior goal for United, and found the net just six times for loan club Blackburn. But in his first season in Germany he scored six goals in 10 appearances, before scoring 17 in his first full campaign and a further eight in an injury-hit final year.
There is no question Stoke have signed a player with the talent to succeed under Hughes, but also one with the history and the motivation to belatedly make a name for himself in the Premier League.