Tony Pulis believes Sir Alex Ferguson has been 'very clever' in ensuring Manchester United have first option to re-sign Ryan Shawcross.
The defender left United to join Stoke City, initially on loan, in 2007 and he has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most consistent defenders.
He has regularly been linked with a move to one of the division's bigger clubs and reports claim Liverpool are lining up a bid in the transfer window.
However, ahead of Stoke's trip to Old Trafford on Tuesday night, Pulis believes his United counterpart Ferguson has taken a wise approach regarding Shawcross.
"He's got first shout on Ryan at any price we want to sell him, so he has been very clever," said Pulis.
"The crafty b***** has sorted it!"
Meanwhile, Ferguson believes Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's repeated criticism of Stoke's playing style is unfair.
"People have criticised their physical style of play but they stick to what they do best," said Ferguson.
"I suppose Arsene Wenger has been one of their main critics, but then he does go off on a tangent at times. For instance, he criticised our pitch after they lost here before Christmas and I was at a loss to understand why.
"I have a great admiration for Tony and the wry way he rides the criticism levelled at his team. If anything the criticism galvanises the players."
Wenger, who was incensed by the Shawcross challenge which led to Aaron Ramsey's broken leg last year, has previously accused Pulis' side of employing "rugby style" tactics and suggested some were "cowards" after a bruising encounter in 2008.
What will be the outcome in the match Man Utd vs Stoke?