Whelan lands new £6m deal with Stoke
GLENN WHELAN was celebrating last night after securing a substantial pay-rise and signing a bumper three-and-a-half year deal to tie his future to Stoke.
The Dubliner is understood to have penned a deal worth close to €30,000 a week and, with the option of another year, the total package could earn the Irish midfielder over £6m between now and 2016.
It's a nice birthday present for Whelan, who turns 28 tomorrow, although it's ultimately a reward for the hard work that has made him a fixture for both club and country.
Last January, there was a strong possibility that the central midfielder would leave the Britannia Stadium due to frustration over a lack of first-team opportunities, and Wolves were interested.
However, Whelan knuckled down to cement his place in the side, and Stoke boss Tony Pulis indicated that the Palmerstown native had surprised him with his progress.
"He's had a fantastic time these last 12 months and he's shown that he's a player who thrives on being challenged to step up to the next level," said Pulis.
"That's probably the Celtic blood in him and a steely determination to prove people wrong, which has included even myself on occasions."
"Glenn has played a big part in our achievements and it's important to look after the players who have been the bedrock of that success."
Pulis picked up Whelan for just £500,000 from Sheffield Wednesday in January 2008, and the Dubliner's first task was to help the club secure promotion to the top flight.
He took another step in his progression that summer when Giovanni Trapattoni called him into the Irish squad and, from there, his stock has risen.
Whelan suffered the disappointment of being released by Manchester City at the age of 20, but has proved himself to be a survivor.
"I am loving life at the moment and things are going well, so I'm absolutely delighted to commit my long-term future to the club," he said yesterday.
"All the hard work I have been doing over the last 12 months has paid off. To play at Wembley twice, reach the FA Cup final, play in Europe and be doing well at international level has certainly made it a memorable time for me.
"I am very excited about what the next few years could have in store."
With Whelan at the peak of his powers, Trapattoni will be hoping that his likely Euro 2012 midfield partner, Keith Andrews, also receives some good news in this transfer window.
Andrews is back training at Blackburn where he is on the comeback trail from a hamstring problem sustained on loan at Ipswich. But he is unhappy at Ewood Park and wants out before the end of the month, with Wigan and Aston Villa both considering a move.
Meanwhile, young Irish midfielder David McAllister is set for a January boost. The ex-St Patrick's Athletic midfielder has coped well in his first year at Sheffield United and an extension to his contract will be confirmed today.
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