- Premier League
Stoke keen to tie up Shawcross to ward off interest
Ryan Shawcross has been offered a lucrative six-year contract to remain at Stoke City as Tony Pulis looks to fend off growing interest in his club captain.
Discussions have taken place between the club and Shawcross' representatives during the last six weeks in an attempt to put together a package which will keep the 25-year-old at the Britannia Stadium.
A formal offer, which it is believed would make Shawcross one of the highest earners at the club, has been made in the last 24 hours to the player's representatives and Stoke chairman Peter Coates is awaiting a decision.
Shawcross has 18 months of his existing contract still to run, but it is Stoke policy to avoid allowing players they wish to retain from entering the last 12 months of a contract.
The defender's return to the international ranks for the last two World Cup qualifiers under Roy Hodgson only served to underline his reputation as one of the best young defenders in the Premier League.
Stoke are aware of a long-standing interest from Tottenham in the player they signed from Old Trafford for £1.5 million in 2008 and Chelsea also have an interest as they continue to look for a long-term replacement for John Terry.
In recent weeks there have been growing suggestions that Sir Alex Ferguson is also mulling over the possibility of following up his interest in his former player, after admitting his regret at allowing Shawcross to leave, and Manchester United have first refusal on any deal if Stoke decide they are ready to sell.
United have nothing in writing outlining such an agreement, but Pulis and the Ferguson shook hands on the fact that United will be given first option to re-sign the defender, if a rival bid is accepted at any stage by Stoke.
It is also understood that an agreement will remain in place, even if Shawcross agrees the new terms on offer and commits his future to Stoke. Pulis is hoping Shawcross accepts the reward for the impressive form he has shown since moving from Old Trafford.
"Every year he has improved. He is 25 now and I still think it is two or three years until he hits his peak form. He's a fit lad and we have not seen the best out of him yet," Pulis said.