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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Friday, 28 January 2011

Sunderland deny Stoke's claims over Ricardo Fuller bid

Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller
Fuller has been Stoke's top scorer in each of the last three seasons

Sunderland have rejected Stoke's claims that the Black Cats made a bid for striker Ricardo Fuller.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said his club had received an offer from Steve Bruce's side but a Sunderland spokeswoman told BBC Sport that was "nonsense".

Sunderland did make an initial enquiry but that interest has been withdrawn.

Pulis said he had given permission for Fuller to speak to Sunderland but added: "It is not just Sunderland, other clubs are interested."

Pulis added: "Ric has been here five-and-a-half years but if someone comes in and makes an offer which benefits him for the rest of his life and we can't match it then we as a club have a responsibility to, and a respect for, the lad.

"If we think it is beneficial for us as well as Ricardo then we'll get the deal done.

"Ric has been a fantastic player at this club. We've looked after him and done very well for him and he's done well for us.

"If he has the opportunity to go somewhere else which will secure his future for the rest of his life then we have to take his personal views into account.

"There comes a time - there has been stuff going on behind the scenes - and he has an opportunity to do very well for himself."

Bruce initially said he was in the market for a new striker following the departure of England international Darren Bent to Aston Villa for an initial £18m.

"We've got irons in the fire with four or five. Ricardo Fuller could be one of those," he said last week. "I like him. I think he's a player that has done very well in the Premier League."

But with the deal now dead in the water he will have to look elsewhere as he seeks to cover Bent and Danny Welbeck who is out for eight weeks after exploratory knee surgery, with Fraizer Campbell also a long-term absentee.

Jamaica international Fuller, Stoke's leading scorer in each of the last three seasons, has found the net three times in 23 games so far this term.

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The former Preston North End and Southampton striker is under contract at the Britannia Stadium until the summer of 2012.

Fuller, who has scored 48 goals in 177 appearances since joining the Potters from Southampton in August 2006, was an unused substitute in City's 2-0 defeat at Fulham last Saturday.



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