Guidetti hopes to hit new heights
Published 14/01/2014 | 17:12
John Guidetti is determined to finally hit the heights in the Barclays Premier League after overcoming the frustrations of being laid low by a mystery virus.
Without a top-flight appearance to his name despite spending the last five years on Manchester City's books, striker Guidetti has joined Stoke on loan until the end of the season.
Signed by Manchester City as a promising 16-year-old, Guidetti's path to stardom has been a bumpy one as injuries and illnesses have dogged him along the way.
A stunning loan spell with Feyenoord in 2011-12, in which he scored 20 goals in 23 Eredivisie appearances - including three consecutive home hat-tricks - suggested his time was at hand.
That was until the virus stopped him in his tracks, one that left him without any feeling in his right leg, and was finally diagnosed as a nerve issue.
The 21-year-old Sweden international was sidelined for almost a year, only returning to training with City last summer.
With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic ahead of him in the pecking order, Guidetti has again had to find solace in a loan spell.
But in being given a crack at the top flight, Guidetti has a chance to show he is the best young talent in world football, as once described by former City and England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
"I am so grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity to show everybody I am capable of playing at this level," said Guidetti, who has made only one appearance for City, in the Carling Cup in 2010.
"It's been a frustrating and difficult time for me, but I am firmly back on the road again now, and this is a great chance for me to hopefully play some games, score some goals and enjoy myself."
Speaking to Stoke City Player Guidetti added: "It's a dream for me to be honest, because I have always wanted to play in the Premier League, which is in my opinion, the toughest and most demanding league in the world.
"It's going to be a real challenge for me, but I have trained with the first-team players at Manchester City for a long time now, so I feel I am ready for this opportunity.
"It has been a mentally challenging time for me over the past year or so, but in times like that you are really challenged, and I feel I have come through everything pretty well.
"Now though, I am just itching to get back on the pitch and scoring goals because there is no better feeling in the world than hitting the back of the net in front of thousands of supporters."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who managed City for 18 months from June 2008 to December 2009, has long been aware of Guidetti.
"We wanted to try and add different options to our attacking threat and John will certainly do that," said Hughes.
"He's someone who, if you get him in the right areas, will make the most of opportunities that come his way because he's a natural goalscorer.
"There were several clubs who were interested in taking him on loan, and we're delighted he has chosen to join us."
Guidetti's move was made possible by Stoke freeing up one of their two loan spaces for Premier League players by signing Stephen Ireland on a permanent deal.
Ireland previously joined Stoke on a season-long loan from Aston Villa earlier this season, but has impressed enough for Hughes to make the move more long term.
United States international Juan Agudelo looked set to be Stoke's third signing of the day, using his Twitter account to claim a deal had been completed on Tuesday night with a view to him moving immediately out on loan.
"There's no other club that has supported and believed in me like @stokecity FC has. #SignedToday - 6 month loan imminent #Europeanfootballer" Agudelo wrote.
The 21-year-old, capped 17 times by the United States, has been a free agent since his contract with the New England Revolution expired after the MLS season.
Stoke have been involved in protracted attempts to sign him with a work permit proving a stumbling block.