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Stoke close on Shea capture

STOKE have moved a step closer to signing United States winger Brek Shea ahead of tomorrow's transfer deadline - while uncertainty surrounds the future of Peter Crouch.

The Potters announced after the 2-2 home Premier League draw with Wigan that they had reached an agreement over FC Dallas player Shea, whose switch from the Major League Soccer outfit is subject to him passing a medical and obtaining a work permit.

The 22-year-old was a spectator at the game and following it, Stoke manager Tony Pulis -- less than a week after he had appeared to indicate that a deal for Shea would not be happening -- was quoted as saying: "I think it is close now, and we are hoping that we can get that deal done in the next day or so.

"Brek is a very, very exciting player, and one who we believe could go on to become a very good player for the football club."

Pulis also confirmed he received an inquiry from QPR counterpart Harry Redknapp about striker Crouch.

Redknapp has admitted his interest in recruiting Crouch, who he has managed before and was an R's player earlier in his career. Pulis said the situation was ongoing but emphasised Crouch was "very happy" with the Potters and any deals Stoke are involved in have to be right for the club if they are to go ahead.

Last night Wigan fell 2-0 behind to 10th-placed Stoke thanks to strikes from Ryan Shawcross and Crouch, but fought back with James McArthur's clipped finish and Franco Di Santo's volley to secure a point.