Ireland edges closer to permanent Stoke switch
STOKE CITY are on the verge of striking an agreement with Aston Villa to sign Stephen Ireland on a permanent basis, WRITES GARRY DOYLE.
After a month of talks between the two clubs, the fine details are now being completed, with Stoke ready to assume responsibility for the remaining six months of Ireland's Villa contract providing they do not have to pay a transfer fee for the Cobh man's services.
All that remains to be sorted thereafter are Ireland's personal terms. Currently on £60,000 a week at Villa, Stoke are reluctant to offer him more than £35,000. However the sweetener of a three-year-contract, coupled with the fact that their training base is close to his Cheshire home, should be enough to seal the deal.
Meanwhile, Everton have agreed a fee in the region of £5.2m with Hull for Nikica Jelavic and that could signal the end of their interest in Shane Long.
The Croatian, who has been on the fringes at Goodison Park this season, has been given permission to speak to the Tigers about personal terms.