Premier League

Manager Tony Pulis 'praying' defender Ryan Shawcross commits to Stoke for life

Ryan Shawcross: Stoke keen to keep defender amid Manchester United link

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Tony Pulis is desperate to tie Ryan Shawcross to a new long-term deal before a "top-four club" comes calling.

Stoke are thought to be preparing a six-year contract for their centre-half, who is about to enter the final 18 months of his current deal.

Pulis would not comment on reports Manchester United have a buy-back option on a player they sold for £1m in 2008, but the City manager knows it will be impossible to keep Shawcross if UEFA Champions League football is on offer elsewhere.

He said: "If we do a deal there will be no one more pleased than myself. We took Ryan as a young lad and he has grown with the football club.

"We're hoping and praying Ryan will be a Stoke player for the rest of his life. But if a top-three, top-four club came in, and they paid the money, there is no way in a million years we would be able to prevent Ryan from going."

Tony Pulis

"Obviously any new deal has to be right for the club and for Ryan, and fingers crossed we can get it done, and we push on from there.

"We're hoping and praying Ryan will be a Stoke player for the rest of his life. But if a top-three, top-four club came in, and they paid the money, there is no way in a million years we would be able to prevent Ryan from going.

"It is a natural progression for every sportsman to play at the top level, but what we want to do is ensure we have him for the rest of his career because we're really happy with him."

What Stoke want to avoid at all costs is allowing the 25-year-old's contract to enter its final year.

Pulis said: "We would hope that's not the case, especially with Ryan, which is why we're talking to him now, to get it done.

"You hope it gets sorted out nice and quickly, but we recognise and realise there is still a lot of time for it to be done, not just weeks and months."