Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross a target for Premier League big guns

Ryan Shawcross: Stoke City defender is being monitored by several of the Premier League's big guns

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Sky Sports understands a host of the Premier League's big guns are tracking Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross.

Shawcross has established himself as one of the best central defenders in the Premier League since helping Stoke win promotion to the top flight in 2008.

The 25-year-old has been instrumental in helping Stoke consolidate themselves as a Premier League side during the last five seasons.

The Potters captain was rewarded for his fine form this season with a call-up to the England squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland.

Shawcross' impressively consistent performances for Stoke have seen a number of top sides keep tabs on his progress at the Britannia Stadium.

That interest is now thought to be growing with several sides in the market for defensive reinforcements at centre-back.

Shawcross is entering the final 18 months of his contract and his suitors are monitoring his situation.

The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are all thought to be keeping a watching brief on Shawcross as they weigh up moves for the powerful stopper.

Stoke would fight any bid for Shawcross, but they could find it hard to keep the player if one of the Premier League heavyweights came calling for his services.