Sky Sports are reporting that Porto defender Bruno Martins Indi is set to join Crystal Palace, despite having spent last season on loan at Premier League rivals Stoke City.
The 25-year-old was almost ever present at the Bet365 Stadium, making 35 Premier League appearances and scoring one goal, and was one of the stand-out performers in Mark Hughes’ side as he partnered Ryan Shawcross in central defence. His consistency on the pitch resulted in a surprise recall to the Dutch national team and he has now earned over 30 caps for the Oranje.
Martins Indi had been expected to agree a permanent move to Stoke in the summer with the initial loan deal including an option to buy. However, The Potters have been slow to follow up their interest and that hesitation has opened the door for Crystal Palace to swoop in at the last minute.
The Dutch defender had been expected to undergo a medical at Stoke on Tuesday after the club had finally agreed a fee with Porto, but reports now suggest that Martins Indi will head to Selhust Park instead.
A blow for Stoke City
The news will come as a significant blow to Mark Hughes who has been under increasing pressure from a section of the Stoke City support following a disappoint campaign last season.
The Potters finished 13th in the Premier League, beating just one team in the top half of the table, and suffered early exits from both domestic cup competitions. Supporters were left feeling underwhelmed by their team’s performances and the general consensus was that the club had regressed over the previous twelve months.
The Stoke hierarchy have confirmed that they will continue to back Hughes and will provide him with the financial support to remould the current first team squad, although the Welshman will be well aware that he cannot afford a repeat of the previous campaign.
Hughes has been on the lookout for new defensive recruits and had been planning for Bruno Martins Indi to resume his partnership with Ryan Shawcross for the forthcoming season. The news that the Dutch defender will opt to join Crystal Palace instead will be a considerable setback for Stoke’s pre-season plans and comes just days after star winger Marko Arnautovic handed in a formal transfer request, according to the Telegraph.
With Ryan Shawcross the only highly-rated central defender at the club, The Potters suddenly look distinctly short of defensive quality.
A coup for Crystal Palace
Newly appointed Crystal Palace manager Ronald de Boer will be delighted at securing the signing of Bruno Martins Indi as he begins to implement a rebuilding programme at Selhurst Park.
The Dutchman was selected to fill the void left by the departure of Sam Allardyce at the end of last season and is determined that there will be no repeat of the relegation battle that the club were embroiled in for the majority of the previous campaign. He has indicated his desire to purchase four or five new players before the transfer window closes and has made signing a central defender a priority after being priced out of a move for Mamadou Sakho.
The Liverpool defender spent the second half of last season on loan at Selhurst Park and was a key influence in helping guide The Eagles away from the relegation zone. Crystal Palace had hoped to agree a permanent deal for the Frenchman but are unwilling to meet Liverpool’s valuation of the player, believed to be in the region of £30 million. De Boer believes that he could bring in two or three other players for the same price and has turned his attention to fellow Dutchman Martins Indi.
A boost for Crystal Palace but Stoke City are left short of quality
For Crystal Palace, the signing of Bruno Martins Indi is something of a coup – although the move will go somewhat under the radar initially.
The 25-year-old has an abundance of experience having played across Europe and is an established Dutch international. More importantly he has proven that he is able to produce consistent performances in the Premier League after a successful season on loan at Stoke City last year where his pace, power and strength allowed him to excel in English football. T
he move provides The Eagles with a perfect replacement for Mamadou Sakho and the transfer fee, rumoured to be a third of what Liverpool were demanding, will leave de Boer with funds to invest in alternative areas of his squad.
The news that Martins Indi has elected to join a Premier League rival will come as another blow to Mark Hughes as he attempts to prepare Stoke City for the forthcoming campaign. The Dutch defender was a prominent member of The Potters squad last season and the club’s inability to complete a permanent deal, despite having an option to buy included in the initial loan agreement, leaves the current team short of defensive quality.
With Marko Arnautovic also looking to depart the Bet365 Stadium, Hughes suddenly has two of his key players from last season to replace in addition to his original transfer plans.
Bruno Martins Indi is a significant coup for Crystal Palace, but leaves Stoke City with a lot of work to do over the summer.
Featured image all rights reserved Serg Hoholok.