Stoke City confirm second transfer of the summer with free agent swoop

Ben Gibson has joined Stoke City as a free agent.
-Credit: (Image: Phil Greig)

Ben Gibson is Stoke City's second signing of the summer. The 31-year-old centre-half has joined on a three-year contract after four seasons at Norwich, who he has just helped reach the Championship play-offs.

He arrives as a free agent after Stoke saw off strong competition for his signature from home and abroad. It is another key early piece of business – a second spot ticked off down the spine of the starting XI – for Steven Schumacher and Jon Walters and the transfer window doesn’t even officially open for another week.

Viktor Johansson has already joined from Rotherham United too after Stoke triggered a relegation release clause. He is seen as a leader in the changing room as well as a leading centre-back in the Championship.

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Sporting director Walters, who was Gibson’s clubmate at Burnley, said: “Successful teams need leaders, strong characters and experience, and Ben gives us all three qualities in abundance. Beyond his contributions on the pitch, he sets high standards of himself and others, both on the training ground and off the pitch.

“Having won promotion from the second tier on several occasions during his career, Ben is well versed in knowing what it takes to be successful at this level.

“He was near ever present in a play-off side last season and brings the hunger, mentality and leadership to help drive our club in the right direction.”

Gibson made his name at Middlesbrough, where he came through the ranks while playing for England at youth level. He went on to make more than 200 senior appearances in all, winning promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

He became Burnley’s joint club record signing for £15 million, but left for Norwich in 2020, initially on loan, to get more regular game time. He helped Norwich win promotion to the top flight in 2021 and has been a fixture in the team when available.

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