Sunday 21 January 2018

Ireland striker Jon Walters to undergo knee surgery

Jonathan Walters
Jonathan Walters

Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters is set to undergo a minor operation on his knee, Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has confirmed

The 33-year-old suffered swelling in his knee after scoring in the recent 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

"We are missing Jonny Walters unfortunately, who is suffering a problem with his knee," manager Mark Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel.

"As a consequence of that he is going to be missing for a little bit, so that leaves us short up front to be perfectly honest."

The news will come as a concern to Ireland boss Martin O'Neill ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales at the Aviva on March 24.

Meanwhile, Hughes has reiterated his stance on Bojan, who is reported to be a target for Premier League rivals Middlesbrough, by insisting Stoke are not yet in a position to be selling attacking players.

Bojan is out of favour and unsettled, with Hughes having met the player's representatives this month to discuss the Spaniard's lack of starts. The 26-year-old started last weekend's FA Cup defeat to Wolves but was substituted off at half-time - adding fuel to the fire.

With Ramadan Sobhi, Wilfried Bony and Mame Diouf away at the African Nations Cup, and Walters requiring a minor knee operation, Hughes does not want to sanction any departures before adding to his squad first.

He said: "We always have enquiries, some are ridiculous which we dismiss quickly. As far as I am aware I don't anticipate Bojan to be leaving. At the moment we're not in a position to sell."

Hughes has revealed talks have reopened with West Brom in a bid to finally thrash out a deal for Saido Berahino.

Hughes has shown interest in Berahino in the last two transfer windows and is keen to end his protracted chase for the striker by coming to an agreement with the Baggies this month.

The 23-year-old has been offered a new contract by West Brom, even though he has failed to make a first-team appearance since September, with the club keen to protect one of their prized assets.

But Stoke have resumed negotiations and are seeking a steer over the amount of money it would take to prise Berahino away from The Hawthorns.

"I'm not sure where we are with Saido Berahino," said Hughes. "We are probably getting to the point where we need to make a decision one way or another.

"I am hopeful that we will be able to get something done. We are interested in him, as a number of other clubs are, but nothing has moved forward from last week. We are still waiting for the player's club to give us an indication.

"I think we are looking at players who we feel can improve us, not only short-term but long-term too, and we have taken that into consideration with this deal. It is out of our hands unfortunately, but we are ready to discuss the situation and see where it progresses.

"It has been long-winded, and sometimes you lose some enthusiasm when that happens, but I have learned over the years that you have to be patient.

"We have been looking for a striker who can score 20-plus goals for some time now. They are a little bit scarce on the ground and you have to work hard to get them over the line."

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