Stoke City: Potters on brink of £1.5m Michael Kightly deal
STOKE City are on the brink of sealing the signing of Wolves winger Michael Kightly for an initial figure of around £1.5m.
And Kightly's arrival could sharpen interest in Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant as boss Tony Pulis will have three senior wingers on his books.
The 26-year-old is set to put pen to paper after Stoke and Wolves finally found some middle ground at the end of lengthy discussions over the past week.
Wolves wanted £2.5m for the 26-year-old, while Stoke were only prepared to pay £2m.
The compromise appears to be a fee of £1.5m up front, but rising to £2.5m with add-ons based on Kightly's playing record and Stoke's success during his time with the club.
The former England under-21 player re-established his reputation last season with a successful comeback from long-term injury problems, and he is one of several Wolves players keen to quit Molineux following their relegation last May.
His move to Stoke would maintain the club's record of signing players from relegated clubs in each of the last four years after recruiting the likes of Dave Kitson, Robert Huth, Marc Wilson and Cameron Jerome in previous summer windows.
However, Pulis has been told he will have to generate much of his own money for signings this summer, and that could now leave him open to offers for either Etherington or Pennant.
Etherington appears the riper for the picking, given Pennant's recent off-field problems, and an early-summer link with old club West Ham could gather legs before the end of the month.
Significantly, one of Etherington's closest friends in football, former West Ham colleague James Collins, returned to Upton Park last week in a £2.5m move from Aston Villa.
West Ham have plenty to spend after winning promotion in May, it seems, but Stoke will do well to recoup all the £2m they spent on bringing Etherington to the Potteries in January 2009.
Kightly will not be signed in time for tonight's friendly at Torquay (7.45pm), the first of a double-header in the West Country as the squad will remain there for tomorrow night's game at Yeovil.
Pennant is also expected to miss out after picking up an injury while playing and training with the youth team over the past fortnight following his failure to gain entry to the United States with the rest of the Stoke first-team squad because of a recent drink-drive conviction.
SHEFFIELD Wednesday are reportedly interested in offering Ricardo Fuller a route back into English football following this summer's release by Stoke.
However, the Jamaica international did not, as reported in some quarters, appear on trial for Wednesday in their friendly against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.