Stoke reject a new £2million bid from Norwich for Jonathan Walters …
Stoke have rejected a fresh 2million bid from Norwich for forward Jonathan Walters.
The Canaries have been knocked back once again a week on from having an initial 1.5million offer for Walters turned down.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday before the news of Norwich’s second bid emerged, Potters boss Mark Hughes remained optimistic Stoke could reach agreement with Walters over a new contract.
The player, currently on a deal that runs out next summer, was this week quoted as saying he wanted to stay with the Staffordshire outfit but felt they were yet to show they truly valued him in recent contract negotiations.
Reports suggest the main sticking point is the duration of extension being offered to Republic of Ireland international Walters, who turns 32 next month.
And when asked about the contract situation on Friday, Hughes said ahead of Saturday’s home Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom: “Jon knows our feeling and my feeling – I’d like him to stay.
“He has his view in terms of the negotiations. We haven’t closed the door and we still think we will be able to get somewhere with it, but it has not been concluded yet.”
Asked if he was disappointed Walters had aired his view, Hughes said: “No – I think they are honest comments.
“Maybe it is borne out of a little bit of frustration. But I have told him my thoughts about what he offers us and the value he gives to the squad.
“Jon is looking for security and a little bit longer maybe than the club feels they can give him.
“But hopefully there is some common ground we can discuss and move it forward.”
Stoke have consistently said they want Walters to stay since rejecting Norwich’s original bid.
Stressing last weekend that the 1.5million offer was “nowhere near” their valuation, Hughes expressed his hope Walters would sign a new deal with Stoke, adding: “If not, then we will probably keep him and let his contract run down.”
When asked on Friday about his confidence Walters would still be a Stoke player beyond Tuesday’s transfer deadline, Hughes said: “We certainly hope to have Jon’s services for a lot longer – although you can never say ‘Yes, definitely that will be the case’.
“If we can’t come to a situation where both sides are happy and Jon doesn’t want to re-sign, it may be we just allow him to see his contract out, and at least we will have the benefit of his services for a year – although Jon and his advisers might have a view on that.
“But from a purely selfish point of view, I’d like him here.
We will see.”
Another club being linked with Walters are West Brom, whose boss Tony Pulis signed him for Stoke in 2010.
This weekend’s match will be Pulis’ first at the Britannia Stadium since his second spell as Potters manager ended in 2013.
Pulis got Stoke into the Premier League in 2008 and oversaw consistent finishes around mid-table thereafter, before his successor Hughes guided them to a record-high ninth place – and again a year later – with what is generally deemed a more fluent style of football.
Hughes said of his fellow Welshman: “I think it is fair to say Tony is viewed as having done a great job here, so I don’t anticipate he’ll have too many people not happy to have him back – but at the end of the day, he’s still an opposition manager.
“And we are not better or worse (than under Pulis) – we are still progressing and going in the right direction.”
Stoke and Albion, both League Cup victors on penalties over lower-league opposition on Tuesday, are each still looking for their first top-flight wins of the season.