Stoke City: Potters not set to cash in on fab four, says Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis has issued a hands-off warning to the Premier League's big boys after insisting his "four fledglings" are not for sale in January.
The Stoke manager vowed not to sell any of his young quartet of Asmir Begovic, Ryan Shawcross, Steven Nzonzi and Marc Wilson under any circumstances in the next transfer window.
His promise comes after a meeting with the Coates family to discuss their response to any potential big-money offers from the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham before the end of January.
He said the greater TV money on offer to the Premier League from next season – a staggering 70 per cent rise to £3bn between 2013 and 2016 – meant clubs like Stoke dare not risk relegation by selling their top players.
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He explained: "It is a big season for everyone in the Premier League because the money at the end is enormous, so we have to make sure we have enough points.
"With rumours about Ryan, Asmir, Marc Wilson before he got injured and Steven, we want to quash the speculation now and say we won't be selling any of our better players in the January window.
"We understand that if the top three or four clubs come in with enormous offers for players, and it's right for the players, it's difficult to stop them going, but we will not be selling in this window.
"There are much bigger stakes at the end of the season than there are if you are selling players now.
"Even if there's an offer that is acceptable, that offer will have to wait until the end of the season."
Pulis said there could be in-coming transfers in January, however, particularly at full-back after Wilson's injury helped expose a shortage there.
"Unless someone went we couldn't bring in anyone up front, but we do need to strengthen a bit at the back," he stated.
Pulis will make a late decision between Kenwyne Jones and Peter Crouch in attack at Villa Park tomorrow (3pm).
Jones filled in impressively for Crouch at West Brom last Saturday, but the former England striker could be available again after dental work following the loss of several teeth in a collision with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini nine days ago.
"He's had a guard fitted and he'll try it," said Pulis. "We're hoping that will be enough protection."
Pulis also hopes Cameron Jerome will overcome the ankle injury he sustained in the warm-up ahead of the 1-0 victory at the Hawthorns six days ago.
And Michael Owen, who complained of a hamstring problem shortly before the Albion game, could be on the substitutes' bench.
CHICAGO Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who has played twice for the USA national team recently, is having a short trial at Stoke before moving on to rivals Everton next week.