Sunday 25 February 2018

Stoke hope securing Bojan's services can convince Marko Arnautovic to commit

Stoke are hopeful Marko Arnautovic, right, will follow Bojan by signing a new deal
Stoke are hopeful Marko Arnautovic, right, will follow Bojan by signing a new deal

Stoke boss Mark Hughes hopes Bojan Krkic committing his future to the club will help them in their ongoing contract negotiations with Marko Arnautovic.

The Potters on Thursday announced playmaker Bojan, previously on a deal ending in 2018, had signed a new one that will take him through to the summer of 2020.

There appears to have been difficulties in the Staffordshire outfit's discussions with another of their key men Arnautovic, however, with the forward last month reportedly rejecting an offer from them while holding out for one that would make him their highest-paid player.

Arnautovic's current contract runs out in 2017 and is understood to contain a £12.5million buy-out clause that will become active when the final year of the agreement begins this summer.

Last week Hughes stressed his belief the Austria international is best off staying with Stoke.

And when asked on Thursday if the news about Bojan boded well for Arnautovic following suit, Hughes said: "I think it is a message to everybody that we have a lot to offer here.

"We are a side trying to progress, bring good players in and improve what we are capable of.

"When guys who have done well for me re-contract and commit once again, that is a message for everyone."

While Arnautovic was linked with Paris St Germain last month, there was also talk of clubs being interested in Bojan.

But Hughes confirmed on Thursday no bids had come in for the latter, and said of the Spaniard's new deal: "I'm delighted we got it over the line.

"We all feel that, with him at 25, now he is going to be moving into the best years of his career and we are going to benefit by him being here and being a big player.

"He likes being here and what we are doing.

"We never felt at any point really there was any danger of him leaving."

Bojan himself told "I am very happy and motivated.

"Stoke gave me the opportunity to play in the most competitive league in the world and I have only words of gratitude for their trust and for the way they have treated me since the first day I arrived in England."

After he joined from Barcelona in July 2014, Bojan's encouraging start to life with Stoke was halted the following January when he suffered a serious knee injury.

He returned to action in August and has shone again in patches this term, scoring five times to take his tally for the club to 10 goals in 41 appearances.

He added: "(Fellow former Barcelona player) Mark Hughes convinced me to come to Stoke, he has helped me and showed his trust in me from the beginning, he followed closely the recovery process from my injury and there is no doubt I have signed an extension of my contract thanks to him."

Stoke on Saturday travel to Bournemouth having lost their previous three Barclays Premier League matches, all by a 3-0 scoreline.

Ryan Shawcross (back) and Geoff Cameron (ankle) are not yet ready to return to action, but Hughes is hopeful Jonathan Walters, sidelined last time due to a virus, will be available.

Press Association

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