Tuesday 12 December 2017

Hughes promises to spend Stoke transfer funds wisely in January

Lee Grant has made 12 appearances for Stoke after joining on loan from Derby in August
Lee Grant has made 12 appearances for Stoke after joining on loan from Derby in August

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has vowed to spend wisely in the January transfer window.

The 53-year-old is eager to improve the Potters squad as he looks to turn them into European contenders in 2017.

Hughes admitted he will be offered players constantly before next month's transfer deadline but, with cash available, will not blow the money on just anyone.

He said: "We are constantly looking at opportunities and I am sure we will be getting calls in January. It isn't an easy window to navigate, I have said that before.

"You can do good work in January and not get a player over the line but it helps out in the summer. That happened with Xherdan Shaqiri a couple of years ago.

"There is money there and if a player becomes available who we feel will help us then I am sure we will be able to get it done. We want players who will make a major impact straight away rather than squad players."

And Hughes has also reiterated the Potters will not be held to ransom by Derby over Lee Grant.

The clubs are in talks over the on-loan goalkeeper, whose deal expires next month, but Hughes insists time is running out to do a deal for the 33-year-old.

The manager told a press conference: "We would like to get something done, but they are asking for too much money. We have a fee we feel he is worth - a market value - and we aren't going to be held to ransom.

"If it doesn't change soon then we will have to look at other options."

Grant will feature when Stoke host Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday after a clean sheet in Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Southampton.

Marko Arnautovic is suspended after he was sent off in the game but Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa are expected to be fit after suffering knocks against the Saints. Ibrahim Afellay will play for the under-23s on Friday as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury which has sidelined him since April.

Stoke are four points ahead of last season's surprise champions, who have picked up just one point from eight away games, but Hughes remains wary.

"It's always difficult after winning the title and Leicester are finding that out," he said.

"I don't think there is any fear of them going down - they are just struggling for continuity in terms of results. You can see the ability they have - they will be fine. They will just be a little frustrated."

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