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Manchester City looking to bolster defences with Stoke skipper

| 20.05.2014

It’s not a swoop many would have predicted, but Premier League champions Manchester City are said to be courting Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross in a bid to strengthen at the back and increase their dwindling quota of Englishmen.

If reports are to believed Manuel Pellegrini is happy to sanction the sales of Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and James Milner, while out-of-contract Joleon Lescott will also leave on a free.

This applies some pressure on the Chilean manager to replenish City’s home-grown stocks in the summer and Shawcross has emerged as a shock target for the champions, who are the early 7/4 favourites to retain their title in 2014/15.

Although the uncompromising Potters skipper, 26, has been overlooked for England’s World Cup travelling party, he’s once again been the bedrock of Stoke’s defence where he only missed one league game this season.

What he lacks in finesse, Shawcross makes up for by winning the vast majority of aerial duels he goes up for, while he’ll happily throw anything in the way of an inbound shot or cross.

His exploits have helped the midlands club post their highest ever top-flight finish of ninth

And given that Pellegrini had to rely on the services of veteran defender Martin Demichelis for much of the season to partner Vincent Kompay in the heart of defence, this is clearly a position in need of strengthening.

A string of debilitating injuries have hampered Matija Nastasic’s promising City career and someone of the age and Premier League experience of Shawcross does appear to fit the bill.

Also interested in landing the former Manchester United trainee’s signature are Newcastle.

The troubled north-east outfit are in dire need of freshening things up at St James’ Park after their season unravelled shortly after the half-way mark.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.