Date: 18th August 2009 at 10:18pm
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Stoke City are reported to be close to a deal to sign James Collins from West Ham whilst it seems that Ryan Shawcross could be staying at the Brit after all.

The BBC are reporting that a £3.5m fee has been agreed with the Hammers for the 25 year old Welsh international who hails from Newport – the same town as Tony Pulis.

It does seem as though this is one deal that stands a good chance of going through with the player also reported to be at the Brit on Tuesday. But negotiations can be protracted this days with such large sums involved and the players’ agents and lawyers keen to tie such details down as their clients’ image rights so it may be a few days before we know anything definite.

The final fee could rise to £5m and Hammers’ fans are facing mixed emotions at the possible loss of one of their defensive stalwarts. But he seems to be on the edge of Gianfranco Zola’s plans and with the Hammers still in financial difficulties after the Icelandic banking crisis they need all the cash they can lay their hands on if they’re going to strengthen their own squad before the end of the month.

One player who doesn’t seem to be on the move is Ryan Shawcross. The player was widely reported to be interesting Man United at the weekend, but the club are putting that down to a media feeding frenzy with the sight of Alex Ferguson at the Brit watching Burnley ahead of his visit to Turf Moor tomorrow night and say that they’re expecting Ryan to be a Stoke player for some time yet. Certainly Pulis is under no pressure to sell Shawcross, who was bought from United less than two years ago for a £2m fee and with the two managers reported to know each other well, I’d have thought it unlikely that Ferguson would spring an offer for the lad on Pulis without any prior warning.