How Stoke's Jese Rodriguez turned match-winner in his Premier League debut versus Arsenal
It is beginning to become a recurring theme now, but it is the case of another transfer window, another name that Stoke City manager Mark Hughes plucks out of the blue and adds to his side.
After signing the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay, Bojan, and Marc Muniesa in recent years, all with Champions League-winning pedigree, Paris Saint Germain’s Jese Rodriguez has become Stoke’s latest coup.
Since leaving Real Madrid after four strong years at the Bernabeu it has not quite transpired as the 24-year-old would have wanted, spending most of his first season in France on the bench before being loaned out to lowly La Liga side Las Palmas, but Hughes has done well to tempt him to Stoke.
He certainly made quite the impression on his debut against Arsenal on Saturday evening, bursting forward from midfield within a minute of the second-half and slotting expertly past Petr Cech’s dive.
It was perhaps just his reward for a bright display, with Jese frequently exposing Arsenal’s makeshift back three during the first-half and looking to utilise his burning pace, driving directly at the opposition.
Across his 70-minute cameo, he completed 100% of his three take-ons, showing that the flair he learned whilst at Real Madrid hasn’t left him – managing three shots and creating two further chances for his side as well – and it is perhaps his sense of arrogance and daring that will set him apart this season.
One thing that would have no doubt impressed the Stoke City boss more than anything is his willingness to link up with fellow new arrival Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, in and around the final third, particularly his evident desire to give him the ball and make a lung-busting run in-behind.
For a man that’s only been in England for a matter of days, being thrown in at the deep end up against one of the league’s top teams, it certainly was a debut that showed an awful lot of promise.
He certainly showed that he will be a real asset at the bet365 Stadium this season as Stoke look to improve on their 13th place finish last year, and the 24-year-old could be the most inspired signing.