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Chester poised to ignore Stoke interest and stick with Villa

The defender played every minute for Steve Bruce’s team in the Championship last season.

Captain James Chester is ready to snub Stoke and hand Aston Villa a further boost by staying at the club.

The defender is keen to help Villa return to the Premier League, Press Association Sport understands.

Stoke have made an offer, reportedly worth up to £10million, for the Wales international but he would prefer to remain at Villa Park.

It is another encouraging sign for Villa after businessmen Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens bought a 55 per cent stake from Tony Xia last week.

The pair invested around £35million for the majority shareholding with a view of taking total control from Xia.

They held a face-to-face meeting with boss Steve Bruce on Wednesday and the club confirmed he will remain in charge after speculation linked Thierry Henry to the job.

Chester has huge admiration for Bruce having also worked with him at Hull and Press Association Sport understands had the 57-year-old departed Chester is likely to have left.

Sawiris and Edens’ investment changed the landscape for the club, although they still need to find £40million to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

It eased the pressure for a firesale but the future of star midfielder Jack Grealish – Villa’s best asset – remains in doubt even though the 22-year-old wants to stay.

It also does not stop acceptable bids coming in for Chester, 29, but he is currently content at Villa having joined them from West Brom in 2016.

Xia had been seeking fresh investment after Villa’s 1-0 Sky Bet Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham in May left them in financial peril.

Stoke, relegated from the Premier League last season, are seeking a new centre-back after Kurt Zouma returned to Chelsea and Kevin Wimmer was loaned out to Hannover.

Stoke boss Gary Rowett has conceded Villa’s change of ownership could affect their chances of signing Chester.

“They’re in the middle of a change in ownership potentially, so it makes any deal quite difficult to do,” he told BBC Radio Stoke.

“We have to accept that some deals you can get and some you have to walk away from and see what else is out there.”

Stoke have already spent £10m on Tom Ince, an initial £5million on James McClean and will pay Wolves £12million for Benik Afobe in January after first taking him on loan.

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