Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill admits he is “delighted” to have beaten Celtic and Rangers to the signing of Charlton Athletic winger Alfie Doughty, in quotes reported by the Scottish Sun.
The January transfer window has been a quiet one throughout Europe but, if there’s one club that can be pleased with the business it has done, it’s the Potters.
In Rabbi Matondo and Jack Clarke, Stoke have signed two wingers who, on their day, are capable of striking fear into the heart of Championship full-backs.
Speaking of full-backs, Wales international Rhys Norrington-Davies also feels like a fine piece of business after he impressed during the first half of the season at Luton Town.
Doughty, however, could prove to be the finest signing of the lot.
The jet-heeled 21-year-old has joined for a bargain £650,000 fee after Charlton decided to cash in on a player who was due to become a free agent in July.
“There are a number of things that are attractive about Alfie and, first of all, potential is the biggest thing,” former Northern Ireland boss O’Neill says, admitting Doughty also had offers from Scotland.
“He’s a player who was very attractive to cross-border teams particularly Rangers and Celtic, who could get him at an extremely good price, good value.
“If Alfie was on a longer-term contract we wouldn’t have been able to bring him to the club for what we’re bringing him to the club for.
“We are delighted to get Alfie in. He fits the profile of the type of player we want. He is young, keen and wants to prove himself.”
Celtic failed with two bids for Doughty in the summer and his move to the Potteries won’t go down well with the Parkhead faithful, who have expressed concerns about a lack of new faces in a squad that desperately requires a reset.
Rangers, at least, have a couple of talented young wingers on their radar, notably Anderlecht’s Francis Amuzu and Aberdeen’s Scott Wright.