Manchester United Target to be Offered New Six-Year Deal
By Adrian Back | November 7, 2012 12:05 AM EST
Stoke City are desperate to stave off interest in centre-back Ryan Shawcross by offering the defender a new six-year contract.
The 25-year-old recently received his first call-up to the England squad as Roy Hodgson selected him for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland earlier this month.
Shawcross's performances have not gone unnoticed with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitting that he may have made a mistake by allowing the powerful defender to leave Old Trafford back in 2008.
Shawcross came through the Manchester United youth system and made two appearances in the League Cup before being sold to Stoke for an initial fee of £1m which did include a buy-back option.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that Manchester United could still get first refusal on the defender if an offer is received from a rival club. With Tottenham being linked with Shawcross in recent weeks, the clause could well end up coming into effect.
Ferguson has struggled at the back this season, with injuries wreaking havoc with his defensive options, causing the Scot to admit he would have loved the opportunity to recall Shawcross.
"I was delighted to see him called up for the England squad because he is a quality player I have wished - particularly of late - was still at Old Trafford," Ferguson wrote in the United programme before the visit of Stoke.
"The problem was that at the time of his release we had an especially strong group of young centre-halves and it was becoming impossible to give them all games at the level their progress warranted.
"We had Jonny Evans, Gerard Piqué, Ryan Shawcross, Craig Cathcart, and Paul McShane, and something had to give. We made the right decision keeping Jonny Evans but I'm not so sure about letting Shawcross join Stoke."
The Telegraph believes Tottenham would have made an offer for the England defender, had they been able to offload Michael Dawson to QPR over the summer.
However, Stoke are hoping to ward off the interest from Manchester United and Tottenham by offering Shawcross a bumper six-year deal.
The former United defender has just 18 months remaining on his contract and Stoke are determined to keep him at the club as he reaches his peak years
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