Stoke City close on Houston Dynamos' Geoff Cameron
STOKE City are moving closer to signing Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron following the departure of Jonathan Woodgate.
Free agent Woodgate was offered a new one-year deal by Stoke at the end of last season, but has instead joined his home-town club Middlesbrough on a three-year contract following a successful medical at the Riverside Stadium yesterday.
City are keen on the 26-year-old Cameron who can play in central defence or central midfield.
They are in talks with Dynamo about the player, who has five caps for the United States national side.
But City must ultimately agree the transfer with the MLS because, under the American system, the league holds a player's registration rather than individual clubs.
Cameron is widely rated as one of the best defenders in the MLS, but figures released by the league show he earns an annual basic salary of £148,603, or just £2,857 per week.
That suggests personal terms should not be a problem for Stoke as the club tries to rein in some of its spending of recent years.
The Potters are determined to generate more of their own transfer budget this season having committed £20m to the treble-capture of Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome last August.
Woodgate leaves the Britannia Stadium after finishing last season as the club's fourth-choice central defender, behind Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth and former England man Matthew Upson.
He forced himself into contention at the start of the campaign, having joined on a pay-as-you play deal after being released by Stoke's Premier League rivals Tottenham.
Woodgate made 15 appearances for City up to the turn of the year, but added just six more games during 2012, the last of which was in the 1-0 Europa League defeat in Valencia on February 23.
The 32-year-old's exit also means Upson is more likely to see out the remaining year of his contract at the Britannia Stadium.
His future hasn't been settled yet, but the Potters are reluctant to lose both experienced England defenders as they plan for the new season.
Upson who made 12 appearances for City last season, is believed to be interesting newly-promoted Southampton.
But the 33-year-old acquitted himself well at the Britannia Stadium after he was snapped up on a free transfer from West Ham last summer.
Meanwhile, Stoke are monitoring Matthew Jarvis, but reports they have tabled a bid for the Wolves winger are wide of the mark.
City need competition for Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington, but Wolves have put a prohibitive £10m price tag onformer Gillingham man Jarvis.
The Molineux club believe they are in a strong position because the 26-year-old is under contract for another three years.
The Potters are believed to have expressed a tentative interest in Jarvis's team-mate, Scotland frontman Steven Fletcher, but won't be encouraged by Wolves's £10m valuation.