Coates won't shell out for Cole

Potters chairman refuses to pay over-inflated prices

Cole: Linked with Stoke

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Stoke chairman Peter Coates has refused to be drawn on any speculation regarding the transfer of Carlton Cole.

The Potters are looking to bring in a new striker, with the powerful West Ham marksman fitting the bill, and with the player for sale at the right price according to the club's owners.

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to bigger clubs such as Liverpool and Aston Villa, but Stoke could prove a tempting prospect as they secured their Premier League status long before the Hammers and finished in a respectable mid-table position.

Though Coates did admit his admiration for the striker, who missed out on a place in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, he refused to be drawn in to discussing whether he would make a bid for the player, with the £15million asking price too high.

"We won't be paying £15m for anyone, unless someone paid that for one of our players," Coates told The Sentinel.

"We are looking for players and there will be players coming in and out, which is normal. Our objective is to start the new season with a stronger squad.

"I wouldn't rule any player in or out, football is a funny game. Carlton Cole is a very good player....we will have to wait to see how things develop."

With manager Tony Pulis looking to build on his side's first two seasons in the top flight, he will be keen to add a striker to his current options, with Dave Kitson and James Beattie seemingly heading for the exit door.

Emile Heskey and Derby striker Rob Hulse have also been linked with the club, with Michael Tonge possibly going the other way to Pride Park to bring the former Sheffield United forward to the Britannia Stadium.