Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has accepted that key midfielder Steven N’Zonzi’s future lies elsewhere as Sevilla close in on the Frenchman’s signature.
N’Zonzi has requested a move away from Stoke in each of the past two close-seasons, though Hughes has been able to convince him to stay on with the upwardly mobile Britannia Stadium outfit.
The former Blackburn Rovers man was named Stoke’s player of the year last term as Hughes guided the club to a record Premier League points tally for a second-successive season.
However, those achievements have not convinced N’Zonzi to stay, with the lure of UEFA Champions League football at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan proving too strong.
Hughes is quoted as saying by The Sentinel: “Seville have obviously shown a huge interest in Steven. We are probably at a point where we can allow Steven to speak to Seville. That will happen in the next 24 hours or so.
“You would imagine at that point if the deal is correct and is what we think it is then the deal would probably be concluded and Steven will join Seville.
“He’s played very well since I came to the club to be perfectly honest. We have tried very hard to convince him that his future lay with us.
“These things are never cut and dried and until it actually happens then there are always things which can develop very quickly.”