Pulis looking for another Diao

Stoke manager bids farewell to midfielder

Salif Diao: Has ended a six-year association with Stoke as he wants to carry on playing

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Tony Pulis is looking to make a statement of intent with his signings in the transfer window and bring in players 'with the right DNA' for Stoke City.

He would like any new arrival at the Britannia Stadium to be of a similar class to Salif Diao, who has left the club after a stay of nearly six years.

The manager says the acquisition of Diao showed everyone that Stoke had ambitious plans for the future, as it came soon after both Pulis and chairman Peter Coates had returned to power at the club.

"He was an absolute dream to work with, and when he first came to us he really raised the bar," Pulis told The Sentinel.

"You were not just acquiring a really good player, you were also signing someone who would raise eyebrows outside of Stoke-on-Trent.

"He was a statement of intent, if you like, and over the years showed himself to be more than just an experienced player with plenty of calibre.

"He is also the kind of person you want around the place to keep the club in good hands and moving forward.

"That is just the kind of player we will be looking to sign again if we can, someone with the right DNA for Stoke City. It won't be easy, but you never stop looking for such players."

Disappointed

Diao decided against taking up Stoke's offer of a coaching role at the end of the season as he still wants to play on for another couple of years.

Pulis said: "Yes, I was disappointed if I am being honest, because you want players like Salif, Danny Higginbotham and Rory Delap to remain involved with the club.

"It would be nice to do what other clubs abroad have done, like Ajax, and that's integrate those players who have a role to play, perhaps in the Academy, after they have retired.

"Salif was one of them, but he wants to carry on playing if he can and I fully understand his wishes because you are a long time retired.

"But either way, Salif will always be welcomed back to Stoke City."