Mark Hughes concedes there is truth to reports Wilfried Bony has a clause in his Manchester City contract that could see Stoke City lose the striker to China.
The Ivory Coast international joined on transfer deadline day after scoring just 11 goals in 46 appearances for City.
His only goals for Stoke came in a 3-1 win over former club Swansea City last month, but Hughes is keen for Bony to stay despite failing to find the net in his other nine appearances.
The Welshman also allayed fears over an apparent caveat in Bony’s deal, which would allow Chinese Super League clubs to buy him in January.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Watford, Hughes said of the clause: “There is some truth to that, but I’m not too sure that will affect anything here in January.
“Wilf is more focused on focusing his career in the Premier League, and unless he comes in and says he has had an offer from China then we anticipate him being here.
“We want him to be here and we feel there is still plenty more to come from him.”
Stoke have been hampered by a number of injuries, but midfielder Glenn Whelan (calf) is fit to return for the trip to Vicarage Road.
However, Stoke are still without Geoff Cameron because of a knee injury, while fellow defender Phil Bardsley suffered knee ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth last time out.
Hughes added: “Geoff Cameron is still unavailable. We are finding it difficult to progress the injury as quickly as we would like. We all need to be patient because he is keen to return, understandably.
“It’s frustrating for us all. Phil Bardsley will be out for a number of weeks – he has a bit of ligament damage.
“He opened his knee up and he will be out for a while, which is sad because he came in and played well. Thankfully, his injury has coincided with the return of Glen Johnson, who is fit and well. We want to keep him nice and sound now.”
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