Potters part ways with stalwart Whelan

Guardiola unsure about Sane’s and Gundogan’s future at Man City

Stoke have lost a loyal servant after Glenn Whelan ended a nine-year association with the club to sign for Premier League hopefuls Aston Villa.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Potters back in 2008 after impressing for Sheffield Wednesday, having helped them win promotion from League One to the Championship.

Whelan went on to establish himself as a key figure at the Britannia Stadium, racking up 338 appearances in all competitions and leading the team in the absence of regular captain Ryan Shawcross through injury.

The Republic of Ireland international had entered the final year of his contract with the Staffordshire outfit but decided to embark on a new adventure in the second tier of English football.

Villa are determined to win promotion back to the top flight under manager Steve Bruce following their relegation in 2016, and Whelan becomes the fourth new arrival at VIlla Park after penning a two-year deal.

"I have enjoyed happy times at Stoke City but now is the time for a new football adventure – and what a club to join in Aston Villa," he told his new club's official website.

"We may be in the Championship but everything about this club screams Premier League – and it's the job of the players to get us back up there.

"I am looking forward to working with Steve Bruce. I know he has a phenomenal record in achieving promotion to the top flight and, having spoken to him at length, I am more than aware of how much he wants to get back there again with this great club."