Stoke make Ashton approach
Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has confirmed to Sky Sports News that the club are in talks with West Ham United over Dean Ashton. It was revealed on Wednesday that the Potters were considering a bid for the striker, who has not played first-team football since August 2008. The 25-year-old underwent ankle surgery earlier this year and is said to be nearing a return to training ahead of the new season. Ashton signed for the Hammers from Norwich in 2006 for £7.25million and has made 46 league appearances since the move, scoring 15 goals. Coates told Sky Sports News: "I think Tony has talked to West Ham. That is the stage we are at. Tony likes him as a player." Recent reports have suggested Stoke could also bid for Newcastle United striker Michael Owen. Of what would be a shock deal, Coates said: "We haven't really discussed Michael Owen at this stage. We know he is about. But I don't believe we have made an approach. "He is a terrific player and a very nice man. I don't know what options Michael has got, we are not privy to his position. "If I said to Tony Pulis, 'Would you like Michael Owen', he'd probably say yes. It would be a fabulous coup to get Michael Owen. "But you also have to look at other aspects - the impact he would have on the squad, the wage bill. There is always a worry about how much he would play." Coates also dismissed suggestions that Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes could sign for Stoke on a player/coach basis. He added: "I think that is someone just running a story. There is nothing in that."
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