Bundesliga side Hannover 96 have warned Stoke City that it will take £17 million, in order to tempt the club to sell former Manchester United forward Mame Biram Diouf to the Potters this summer.
Stoke boss, Mark Hughes, had highlighted Diouf as his primary transfer target, although Hannover are desperate to keep him as they aim towards qualifying for Europe this season.
The 25-year-old Senegalese striker has scored 18 goals in the Bundesliga since leaving Old Trafford in January 2012, prompting Hannover president Martin Kind to defend his star forward with a remarkably steep asking price.
Kind told Eurosport France: "If Stoke City proposes £17m, then we can start thinking, [but the transfer] is not very realistic."
Hughes swiftly responded to the inflated asking price by stating that Stoke will not be held for ransom this summer, whilst also revealing that they are willing to wait another season before inquiring for Diouf's services again.
An astute move, considering Diouf will be available on a free transfer once his contract expires at Hannover next summer.
Hughes informed the Daily Mirror: "We have the means to pay the right fees if the right players are available."
Consequently, Stoke struck a deal with the New England Revolution for USA striker Juan Agudelo, 20, to join them on the opening day of the January transfer window.
The Potters endured an uneventful tour of the USA, resulting in their highest scoring game finishing 2-0.
Evidently, Hughes has recognized that Stoke desperately require a lethal striker. Following five pre-season fixtures, Jonathan Walters ranked as their highest scorer after garnering a total of two goals. Stoke finalised their quiet pre-season with a mandatory 0-0 bore draw against Italian side Genoa.
According to Squawka statistics, Diouf produced 33 shots on target and 20 shots off target after making 28 appearances for Hannover last season, resulting in a stellar total of 12 goals.
On the other hand, Stoke's top goal scorer Walters fired 23 shots on target and 23 shots off target, averaging a meager 50% shot accuracy, whereas Diouf revealed his potential by ending the season with 62% shot accuracy. Furthermore, Walters managed to score just eight goals last season, despite making 38 appearances.
The necessity for Stoke to buy a consistent goal scorer is now greater than ever, after bookmakers labelled them as one of the favourites for relegation.
Consequently, Stoke have switched their attention to Stade Rennes striker Melvut Erdinc, after club scouts watched the 26-year-old Turkish striker come on as a late substitute on Wednesday vs Ghana.
Erdinc has been regularly linked with a move to Newcastle in recent years, with attention once again resurfacing after he scored vs Stade de Reims in Rennes opening league game.
QPR winger Junior Hoillett has also been strongly linked with a move to the Britannia Stadium, although the signature of Erdinc has been highly prioritised by Hughes, after the Potters managed to score just 34 goals last season, the second lowest total behind relegated QPR.
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