Stoke City: Potters in talks to sign £2m Michael Kightly
STOKE boss Tony Pulis is poised to make a final decision on whether to take the plunge for Wolves winger Michael Kightly.
The two clubs have been in negotiation for several days, but Stoke may have to pay more than their £2m valuation.
Pulis, who returned to the UK after Stoke's tour of America yesterday, will also be anxious to avoid a third party weighing in with an 11th-hour interest to scupper his designs on the 26-year-old.
Kightly, pictured below, is more familiar with the right wing, but could be utilised on either side if he ends up at the Britannia Stadium. And that will throw down the gauntlet to both Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington who have had little previous competition for their roles.
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Kightly, who has a year left on his current contract at Molinuex, is known to be keen on remaining in the Premier League after being relegated with Wolves and subjected to a major pay cut as a result.
Pulis is satisfied his well-documented injury problems are a thing of the past after playing without problems over the last nine months.
That included a loan spell at Watford to speed up his rehabilitation, and former Stoke midfielder John Eustace, still skipper at Vicarage Road, said he believed Kightly would prove a great asset should he move to the Brit.
Pulis was also a keen admirer of Kightly's wing partner Matt Jarvis, but the current asking price appears to be well out of Stoke's reach.
Former England striker Michael Owen remains on Stoke's radar after becoming a free agent following his departure from Manchester United.
Any contract for the 32-year-old would have to be weighted heavily towards his playing record following his poor fitness record in recent years.
Even then, Pulis may have to make considerable room on his wage bill to accommodate a player used to earning in excess of £50,000-a-week in the past.
Owen would be handled sensitively at the Britannia to try to ensure his consistent fitness, and that would include deploying him largely as an impact player from the bench.
Owen has been training on his own all summer after choosing to ponder his options, but he has now said he is about to make a decision on a new club that would mean remaining at his North West base.