N'Zonzi looks bound for Sevilla
Published 08/07/2015 | 17:09
Stoke midfielder Steven N'Zonzi appears on the verge of joining Spanish club Sevilla.
Potters manager Mark Hughes confirmed on Wednesday that N'Zonzi, who has a year left on his current contract at the Britannia Stadium, will hold talks with Sevilla after the Primera Division side tabled a bid believed to be around £7million.
Earlier in the day N'Zonzi had been named in Stoke's 23-man squad for next week's Barclays Asia Trophy tournament - but Spain rather than Singapore seems to be the Frenchman's destination after the Europa League winners were granted permission to speak to the 26-year-old.
"Sevilla have obviously shown a huge interest in Steven," Hughes told Sky Sports News.
"We worked really hard to persuade him his future lay here but it didn't seem to be enough for him.
"We are probably at a point where we can allow Steven to speak to Sevilla. That will happen in the next 24 hours or so.
"You would imagine at that point if the deal is correct and is what we think it is then the deal would probably be concluded and Steven will join Sevilla.
"These things are never cut and dried until it actually happens as there are always things which can develop very quickly."
Sevilla's sporting director Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo had earlier told reporters in Spain about their pursuit of N'Zonzi, "We are negotiating, we are in the fight."
N'Zonzi arrived in England when Blackburn signed him from Amiens in 2009.
He moved on to Stoke for £3million in 2012 and has made 120 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals, and was named the club's player of the year last season.
Stoke were due to fly out to Singapore on Wednesday evening with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United this summer, also due to travel to the Far East.
However, the club said the squad is subject to change and Press Association Sport understands Stoke are preparing a late move for veteran goalkeeper Shay Given.
The Republic of Ireland international is set to be released from the final year of his contract at Aston Villa and it seemed likely that he would rejoin a Middlesbrough side where he spent three months on loan during the 2013-14 season.
"Shay was here, I know him, he knows me, so we are working (to do the deal) and let's see," Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka said at a press conference on Wednesday. "I hope so."
But the 39-year-old could now be heading for Stoke and that would raise further question marks over Begovic's future.