There’s many things you expect to write about when in this line of work but an ode to Lee Grant certainly isn’t one of them.
Yet, here we are and here I am reflecting on what’s actually been one of the most inspired signings of the season and deserves far more credit that it’s gotten this year.
Of course, it was inevitable the moves for Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Manchester United would overshadow Stoke City’s transfer activity but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge it’s significance.
Before Grant joined on loan in the summer Stoke were looking in trouble.
Jack Butland was still injured (still is) and Shay Given, for all his experience, was looking well past it. The Potters were in the relegation zone and you couldn’t see them getting out of it anytime soon.
But then, quite out of the blue, they signed Grant from Derby – a man with no Premier League experience – in a move that seemed bordering on desperate.
Since, though, it’s proved anything but.
Grant has looked like a seasoned Premier League pro – he’s got as many clean-sheets as Petr Cech and just one fewer than Hugo Lloris and David De Gea, widely heralded as the two best stoppers in the league.
That’s come, too, from five fewer appearances and so as this rather quiet January window rumbles on, we’re once again over-looking one of the signings of the current market – once again it’s Lee Grant.
He’s signed permanently for Stoke City and when Jack Butland does return to fitness, even though he’s one of the best young ‘keepers around, he’ll have his work cut out getting in the side.
So, when we look back at this season at the signings of the year Sadio Mane or N’Golo Kante may come up but Grant should, too, in proving that bargains can still be found.
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