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Stoke settle in, seek away breakthrough

Stoke City

Fowler set for MLS reunion with old pal Nicol?

New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol has claimed he has held talks with former Liverpool team-mate Robbie Fowler about a move to Major League Soccer.

Fowler's contract at Anfield expires in the summer and with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez still pursuing another striker after agreeing a deal to sign Andriy Voronin from Bayer Leverkusen, the 31-year-old appears unlikely to be offered a new deal.

There have been suggestions that Fowler could seek a fresh start by following David Beckham to MLS, where he could join up with the man he played alongside for the Reds in the early 1990s.

'We'd be interested in Robbie,' Nicol told PA Sport. 'But at the moment the first thing is the financial side.

'We've spoken, but as of yet there's nothing been settled. He's really just dipping his foot in the water here. It's something he's thinking about.

'He's getting his ducks in a row. Whether he gets a contract at Liverpool or whether he moves on, he's dipping his foot in the water.'

The Revolution have been one of the most consistent teams in MLS in recent seasons, reaching the MLS Cup final in each of the last two seasons, only to suffer defeats at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005 and the Houston Dynamo last season.

However, with the departure of key man Clint Dempsey to Fulham in January, Nicol knows there is a need to rebuild, and he has some money from the Dempsey deal to invest in wages.

Nicol - who fended off a $1m offer from Celtic for midfielder Shalrie Joseph this winter - is in a strong position to make an impact signing using the designated player slot, the mechanism which allowed the Galaxy to sign Beckham to a contract which could be worth up to 250 million dollars in salary and endorsements over five years.

'Through the sale of Clint we have some money available,' he said. 'But the problem we have is that, because of the type of money David Beckham has got, a lot of people think everybody has that kind of money which is not the case.

'At the present time speaking to some people we're pretty much miles apart in terms of the financial side. We're certainly interested in getting somebody in, but we're not going to do anything stupid.

'We're not going to sling ridiculous amounts of money at just anybody. We need to find a player who is going to come in and be a leader, show some of the young guys what it's about, and be able to do something on the field. If we do get someone in we're going to be looking for quite a lot from them.'