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Jan 28, 2011

Confusion over Sunderland bid for Fuller

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has claimed that Sunderland have tabled a bid for striker Ricardo Fuller, though the Wearsiders are denying any offer has been made.

• S'land blog: Blues for the Blues?

The arrival of John Carew on loan from Aston Villa has increased speculation that 31-year-old Fuller could be on his way out of the Britannia Stadium, with Sunderland on the hunt for a striker following the departure of Darren Bent and a recent injury to Danny Welbeck.

"Sunderland have made an offer and both clubs are talking," Pulis said. "But it is not just Sunderland - other clubs are interested. Everyone knows what the asking price is - it is just sorting things out now.

He has got a life after football to think about and Ric's certainly not one of those who will be going into management or coaching or anything like that. Ric's Ric. He's a different animal - I think he's talking about buying nightclubs, discos and music centres and all that.

"He has the opportunity to do very well for himself and as a manager, he's not only a player of mine, he's a friend and you have to help them as well. It's been a very good relationship. We've had our moments together - I'd be telling lies if I said we hadn't had arguments and fall-outs over the years.

"But he's a good lad and I have a lot of respect for him. If he's got the chance to go somewhere else and get maybe something which will secure his future for the rest of his life then we have to look at that and at the bigger picture.

"We have to take his personal views into account and I do that in lots of ways because he's been a great player for us.

"He's been brilliant for us for five and half years and for the money we paid for him he has been one of the outstanding players this club has had. But if nothing happens and he is still here I'll be doing somersaults.''

Asked whether Fuller had asked for permission to speak to Sunderland, Pulis replied "Yes, of course. We've had a chat together. We've sat down and spoken about it. He knows what's going on.

"In today's modern world everyone knows what's going on before it's going on. He knows the score and what it's about.''

Despite his impassioned description of events surrounding Fuller, there are doubts about the vearcity of Pulis' claims that Sunderland have bid for him, as the Wearsiders have denied an offer for the striker.

It had appeared that Sunderland were ready to swoop for Fuller in a reported £3 million deal last week, after Steve Bruce revealed his interest in the frontman.

"Ricardo Fuller could be one of those [we are looking at], but we have got the irons in the fire, four or five as we speak," Bruce said last Friday. "I like Ricardo Fuller, I think he has been a very good player in the Premier League, and we will see. Just watch this space for the next 24, 48 hours."

But no move materialised and while Bruce is still thought to be an admirer of Fuller, who has three goals in 19 league games for Stoke this season, he has yet to make his move.

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