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Stoke eager to tie down Shawcross

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates will do everything in his power to ensure Ryan Shawcross stays at Stoke City.

• Blog: Crippled by expectation

Coates is remaining coy over recent revelations that Shawcross has been offered a six-year contract, to ward off interest from Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool.

The defender, 25, will enter into the final year of his contract in June 2013 and Coates would like to secure the England defender's long-term future before the January transfer window opens.

Coates knows failure to reach an agreement over the new deal could force Stoke to listen to offers as early as January and he has made it clear the Shawcross situation is a top priority over the next couple of weeks, when more talks are planned.

"Ryan is an important player for us and we want to keep him and make him secure. You try to look after your assets," he said.

"He has developed his career at this football club and we want him to stay, so it's up to us to find a way of keeping him."

Stoke are concerned Shawcross may elect to run down his contract and leave on a free transfer in 2014. If that is the player's intention, the club would like an early indication, so they can at least assess their options.

With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand edging towards the twilight of their careers at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson has a gentleman's agreement with Stoke manager Tony Pulis that he has to be informed of any offer for his former centre-back.

Shawcross has been Stoke's most consistent defender since joining the club in 2008 and his value is likely to increase further if he is named in the next England squad and finally makes his debut in next week's friendly against Sweden in Stockholm.

Coates is concerned about whether Stoke will be able to retain the services of the defender they signed from Old Trafford for £1.5m, but he is refusing to panic after seeing Stoke fall to 15th in the Premier League table following last week's defeat at Norwich.

"I don't think we have played badly this season. Neutrals watching the game at Norwich would have thought we deserved something," he said.

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