Belfast Telegraph

Stoke boss Mark Hughes registers interest in Manchester City's Fabian Delph

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has registered his interest in Manchester City's Fabian Delph and will not stand in Jonathan Walters' way after accepting he wants to join Burnley.

The Welshman has confirmed he has spoken to his old club regarding the possibility of acquiring Delph as he tries to reshape his midfield following Darren Fletcher's arrival.

Delph, 27, moved to City from Aston Villa on a five-year contract two summers ago, but has struggled for regular playing time and he started just five games last season in Pep Guardiola's maiden campaign.

Asked about Stoke's interest in Delph, Hughes told the Sentinel: "We've asked for an idea in terms of the possibility of doing something. That's been ongoing for a couple of weeks now and we just have to be patient. With loan deals it's always the parent club that dictates who and when players go out.

"He's one of a number of players we're looking at. We speak to a lot of clubs and ask them about players' situations and their feelings and plans for them moving forward into the new season. He is one of those players we've asked about."

One player Delph would be unlikely to call a team-mate in the Potteries is Walters as he appears set to leave Staffordshire for Burnley following seven years with the Potters.

The offer of a longer contract in Lancashire is appealing to the 33-year-old Republic of Ireland international, whose current deal expires next summer.

And Hughes is now prepared to green light his move to Turf Moor given their more favourable terms, leaving Walters free to join his international compatriots Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Kevin Long and Stephen Ward.

"It seems that maybe Jon could take the option of a move to Burnley," Hughes added.

"I haven't had the opportunity to speak to him about it. I think it's something that maybe he wants to make happen, but irrespective of that, if it falls through we would be more than happy because Jon coming back to the club would be fine.

"Maybe at this point of his career Jon feels that he needs a bit more security in terms of length of contract which maybe we weren't prepared to match what he's got on the table.

"If he does go, we will look back on his time here with fond memories. He's been a huge part of the success of the club in the Premier League and his contribution will never be underestimated."

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