January 10, 2018 / 12:28 AM / a year ago

Soccer - Stoke sign Austria defender Bauer from Rubin Kazan

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Austria vs Georgia - Vienna, Austria - September 5, 2017 Austria’s Moritz Bauer in action REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) - Stoke City may have sacked manager Mark Hughes at the weekend but on Tuesday they signed one of his transfer targets, Austria right back Moritz Bauer.

The 25-year-old defender has joined the club from Russian team Rubin Kazan on a 4-1/2 year deal for 5.5 million pounds ($7.44 million), the struggling Premier League club announced.

Bauer agreed terms and had a medical last week but has now completed the move to Stoke, who sacked Hughes on Saturday after a shock FA Cup third round defeat by fourth-tier Coventry City.

“Moritz is a player we have been trailing for some time and was someone Mark Hughes wanted to bring into the club,” Chief Executive Tony Scholes said on the club’s website (www.stokecityfc.com).

“Moritz came over to England last week to undergo his medical and discuss terms and we have now been able to conclude his transfer.”

Stoke are in the relegation zone with 20 points from 22 matches and visit Manchester United on Monday. They will hope Bauer can help tighten up a defence that has by far the worst record in the Premier League this term with 47 goals conceded.

Although Bauer represents Austria, he was born in Switzerland and started his career with Grasshoppers Zurich, making more than 90 league appearances.

He joined Rubin Kazan in 2016 and played 37 league games for the Russian Premier League side.

($1 = 0.7392 pounds)

Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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