Stoke City manager Tony Pulis insists defender Ryan Shawcross is not for sale, despite reported interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
The 25-year-old centre back spent six years at Old Trafford after joining the Red Devils academy in 2002, but was unable to break into the senior side and left for the Potters after a season on loan at the Britannia Stadium.
Improving form led to a second England call-up earlier in the month, and manager Pulis insists it would be a huge mistake to let the player leave for another club in the English top flight.
“No chance,” said Pulis in relation to the transfer rumours.
“Ryan is our captain and has been selected for England and he is only just 25. We won’t see the best of him for another two or three years. He was a great signing and the good thing is he wants to get better. He has that desire about him.”
Shawcross was unable to prevent his side from succumbing to defeat against Manchester United at the weekend, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson was happy to praise the player ahead of the match.
Writing in the matchday programme, the Scot admitted that letting the player leave for pastures new might have been a rare transfer mistake.
“We had Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique, 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,” said the Scot.
The comments have helped fuel reports over a potential transfer bid in January, whilst Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea chief Roberto Di Matteo are all monitoring the situation, according to reports on SkySports at the end of last week.