Stoke City ready to sell Ryan Shawcross to top four club
TONY Pulis has admitted for the first time that Stoke City will cash in on Ryan Shawcross if a top-four club comes calling for his captain.
But any bid for the 25-year-old defender would have to comfortably smash the club's existing record sale of around £5m when Tuncay left for Wolfsburg two years ago.
Pulis's warning comes as Shawcross retained his place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for next Wednesday's friendly in Sweden.
He now appears certain to taste some senior international action for the first time after being named alongside fellow centre-halves Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Tottenham youngster Steven Caulker.
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
Stoke are currently in talks over a new deal for Shawcross, whose contract ends in the summer of 2014, but are refusing to confirm reports of a six-year offer being on the table.
Pulis wants to keep Shawcross and Robert Huth together at the heart of his defence, but acknowledges the reality if the likes of a Manchester United or Tottenham come knocking.
"If we get him signed up there will be nobody more pleased than me," says Pulis, "but it has to be right for the club and for Ryan.
"We are hoping and praying Ryan will be a Stoke City player for the rest of his life.
"But if a top-three or top-four club came in, and they paid the money, then there is no way in a million years we would be able to prevent Ryan from going.
"It is a natural progression for every sportsman to play at the top level.
"If the deal's right, it's very difficult to stop players going to top clubs now.
"But if none of them do come in, then we want him to be here for the next five or six years."
Shawcross has played more than 200 times for Stoke since arriving at the club on loan from Manchester United in August 2007 and then making the move permanent in a £2m deal in January 2008.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's clash against QPR (3pm), Pulis claimed there was no panic to tie Shawcross down to a new deal because he still has 20 months left on his contract.
"We are hoping it gets sorted out quickly, but there's still a long time to go.
"He's a fantastic lad and Ryan has to do the best he can for himself and his family.
"But I don't think the football club would do anything but look after Ryan because they have fantastic respect for him as a lad, not just a footballer."
Michael Owen remains on the sidelines after Pulis said he was being readied for West Ham away on Monday week following a hamstring injury.
Veteran Rory Delap, who has not played since the first game of the season, could need a hernia operation next week.