Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is weighing up a bid for Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, but chairman Peter Coates will have to be convinced about the deal first.
The Potters have shown an ability to pull off big-name signings in the last couple of years by landing the likes of Peter Crouch, Michael Owen and Charlie Adam. The capture of Defoe, though - a possibility, according to reports - would represent a step up even by recent standards.
A source has told ESPN that Hughes would have to work hard on Coates to push the deal through.
Despite sometimes being on the fringes under Andre Villas-Boas, the England international is on big money at White Hart Lane, and at nearly 31 years of age, would challenge Coates’ preference for investing in younger talents.
One of the factors behind the departure of Hughes’ predecessor, Tony Pulis, in May is thought to have been his over-reliance on established stars, with a shortage of players coming through the club’s youth ranks.
Some reports suggest that Crouch only arrived in a £10 million deal from Tottenham two summers ago because Coates was prepared to back his manager, and not necessarily because he himself was keen on the signing.
The 32-year-old striker has since delivered a modest 22 goals in 78 Stoke appearances, but is still being linked with a return to Queens Park Rangers, the club he is thought to have been close to joining in the January transfer window.
A source has told ESPN that QPR’s interest in Crouch is very much alive and that the switch could be set in motion by Samba Diakite moving in the opposite direction. The midfielder was brought to Loftus Road by Hughes last summer, following a loan spell at the club.
Crouch’s move to the Potters could be helped by the fact that his wife is from the North-West. However, luring Defoe away from London, where he has had spells at Charlton and West Ham in addition to his two stints with Spurs, could prove to be a stumbling block.
Coates is currently away on holiday, while Stoke are at a training camp in France, prior to their departure in a week-and-a-half’s time for a three-match tour of the United States.