Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has denied reports that striker Peter Crouch could be on his way to Premier League rivals West Ham.
Sam Allardyce has confirmed that he is in the market for a striker following another injury setback for Andy Carroll and the West Ham boss is said to be eyeing a move for Crouch.
But Hughes dismissed speculation linking the former England international with a move to Upton Park after Sunday’s 1-1 friendly draw at Blackburn Rovers and revealed that the 33-year-old is very much part of his plans.
When asked if West Ham had made an approach for the much-travelled frontman, the Stoke boss told Sky Sports News: “No, absolutely not.
“It’s just speculation – we understand that at this time of year – but we won’t encourage anything.”
He added: “There’s always speculation at this time of year.
“Peter was great for me last year – he’s a key part of what we’re trying to do this year.
“People assume that if you bring quality in, quality people have to go out but that’s not the case. We’re looking to build a strong squad and add to the quality we already have.
“Peter was very much part of that quality last year and we expect him to stay.”