LONDON - Mark Hughes has confirmed that Stoke City do not have an option to buy Jese Rodriguez, who made a perfect start to life at the bet365 Stadium by scoring the winning goal against Arsenal on Saturday.
The Paris Saint-Germain loanee slotted coolly past Petr Cech at the start of the second half to consign Arsene Wenger’s side to their first defeat of the new Premier League season.
Despite there being no ready-made agreement in place to make the move permanent and describing Jese as simply “a very expensive player”, Hughes believes the former Real Madrid winger’s arrival is a sign that Stoke can now attract more players of his pedigree.
“We're viewed differently in terms of agents and representatives of this quality of player,” he said. “We just need an opportunity. If we get in the room with agents and players of Jese's ilk then we can pitch really well and make them aware of what we can offer.
“The key now is that in the past we couldn't get anywhere near this type of player, but now we can. We've got a lot to offer. Clearly the Premier League is big attraction but we can give them a platform and give them the means to really prosper.
“They know they'll get similar to what they'd get at the top clubs because that's my background, that's what I've experienced. I know what they have to have to be able to prosper and I think that goes a long way.”
Hughes also confirmed that Stoke attempted to sign Jese last season, prior to the 24-year-old’s loan move to Las Palmas. Though those attempts failed, the Welshman believes they ultimately paved the way for his arrival this summer.
“You just have to bide your time but maybe those initial enquiries allowed us to be in a position to get it over the line this time,” he said.
“We had a conversation but clearly it wasn't viable then because he felt maybe his career needed to go in a different direction. We're fortunate because he felt now was the time to come to the Premier League and we're grateful that he has picked us.”