Ambitious new head of recruitment is 'perfect person' for Stoke City

Stoke City joint-chairman John Coates watches from the stands next to interim technical director Jon Walters.
-Credit: (Image: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Jon Walters will be able to lean on new Stoke City head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough as well as tap into his knowledge of the domestic and international transfer market.

Darnbrough is joining Stoke from Hull, where he has had the title of head of strategic analysis as well as recruitment, and will be a key and experienced figure behind the scenes alongside sporting director Walters, who arrived in March.

“Lee played, has been an analyst, scout, he’s almost being a sporting director at Hull, knowing what he does and what he did with Liam (Rosenior) there,” said Walters. “He’s got 20 years’ experience doing what he’s doing with Norwich, West Brom, Burnley… He’s worked under unbelievable sporting directors and he’s grown himself.

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“He brings experience in the domestic market, the international market and for me to have someone like that, with a lot more knowledge than me in his area, and to be able to push me on the sporting director side of it. There will be things I’ll be learning from him as I go along.

“Ultimately he’s the right person, the right character to have in. He doesn’t live far from here, he knows what the club’s about, he knows what the area is about and I think he’ll bring all of that and he wants to grow himself. I know where he wants to get to, he’s not just going, ‘I want to be where I am,’ he wants to grow and grow with the club. I think he’s the perfect person to come in and do that.”

Stoke have already signed Viktor Johansson this summer after activating the goalkeeper’s relegation release clause at Rotherham United. They are believed to be close to a deal too for centre-back Ben Gibson, who is a free agent as he leaves Norwich City.

Darnbrough has a long list of contacts but he won’t be walking into a new club and starting the summer business from scratch.

He said: “We’ve already got our targets and what we’re working on. We’ve already got Viktor and we’re working on more. We’re close to a couple of other things we’re working on more. We’ll be working away at that.

“Lee will add to that but we’re not looking a short-term thing of someone bringing targets with them. Ultimately it’s for the long-term benefit of the club and he’s the right person to grow with us.”

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