Stoke keen on Johannsson swoop
Stoke City have been keeping tabs on AZ Alkmaar's Aron Johannsson, according to reports, though AZ's director of football says the Dutch club is not keen to sell him in January.
The Potters, also keeping an eye on West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long, are among the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season, and manager Mark Hughes wants to add more firepower to his side.
However, Stoke are unlikely to follow up their initial interest in Hannover's Mame Biram Diouf.
With several clubs looking to add firepower to their attacking options in the January transfer window, it's not surprising that U.S. international forward Johannsson is drawing interest from some clubs in the United Kingdom.
The Icelandic-American striker has been superb in his first season as a starter in the Eredivisie –- scoring 11 goals and adding four assists in 16 appearances -- and according to reports both Stoke and Celtic are interested in a deal worth around 5.5 million pounds.
But AZ director of football Earnie Stewart, a former U.S. international, told ESPN FC via email that the club is not looking to sell the 23-year-old Johannsson in the January transfer window.
"I have heard the rumors about Aron but we have not had any contact with clubs," Stewart said. "We are not looking to sell Aron."
AZ lost Jozy Altidore, who scored 31 goals in 41 appearances, over the summer and unlike the previous sale for the American international striker, they don't have any ready-made replacements for Johannsson.
Johannsson, who switched allegiance from his native Iceland to the U.S. last year, has played six times for Jurgen Klinsmann's side since making his international debut in August.
Johannsson's fellow U.S. international forward Juan Agudelo, who plays for the New England Revolution, is expected to spend some time with Stoke despite a failure to gain a work permit for him last year.
"We are just keeping in touch and inviting him over when we can," Hughes said of Agudelo. "He will have a few days with us again, like he did before Christmas. We want to see if there's any potential to do anything with him."