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Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 15:30 UK

Stoke close in on Collins capture

James Collins
James Collins has won 30 international caps for Wales

Stoke City are closing in on the signing of Welsh international defender James Collins from West Ham United.

BBC Sport understands the 25-year-old centre-back is at the Britannia Stadium discussing personal terms after the two clubs agreed an initial £3.5m fee.

His fellow West Ham defender Matthew Upson has also been the subject of intense speculation this summer.

Collins, who has 30 Welsh caps, has played 63 times for the Hammers since his move from Cardiff City in 2005.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola insisted his club did not need to sell key players before the end of the August transfer window.

Zola was thought to be under pressure from CB Holding, the club's Icelandic owners, to cash in on the squad.

But Zola told the club's website on Tuesday: "We are looking to buy not sell players."

Pulis has long been an admirer of fellow Welshman Collins, and with uncertainty surrounding the future of Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross, who has been linked with moves to Liverpool and Manchester United, he is keen to add another defender to his squad.

606: DEBATE
Jimbo

Pulis conceded Collins is "one of many targets", but he told BBC Radio Stoke: "If we're doing any business, we'll do it with the clubs and not through the media."

Collins could complete his move in time for Wednesday's Premier League game at Liverpool but he is likely to start as a third-choice centre-back behind captain Abdoulaye Faye and Shawcross.

The fee could eventually rise to £5m based on the number of appearances he makes for the Potters.

Collins' injury problems have limited him to just 49 league starts for the Hammers but he played the full 90 minutes as Gianfranco Zola's side won their opening Premier League of the season 2-0 against promoted Wolves at Molineux.

Pulis, though, insists he will not let Shawcross leave the Britannia Stadium.

"Ryan's done fantastically well for us and we want to keep him at Stoke City," added Pulis.

"He's one of the younger players that we've got in the group and he's a big asset to us.

"This club is looking to push on and you don't do that by selling your best players."



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see also
Zola vows to keep West Ham stars
17 Aug 09 |  West Ham
Wolves 0-2 West Ham
15 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Gabbidon handed recall by Wales
07 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Gold refuses to deny Hammers link
14 Aug 09 |  Birmingham
West Ham pair sign new contracts
21 Aug 07 |  West Ham


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