Stoke step up Diouf interest
Stoke look set to make Senegal striker Mame Biram Diouf their second new signing of the summer.
Press Association Sport understands former Manchester United player Diouf, 26, whose contract with German outfit Hannover is coming to an end, has been at the Potters' training ground this week for talks with their manager Mark Hughes and chief executive Tony Scholes.
Stoke on Thursday announced their first new recruit of the transfer window in Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley, secured on a three-year deal and officially joining the club on July 1 when his contract with the Black Cats expires.
The acquisition of Diouf on a free transfer would see the end of a lengthy pursuit after Stoke believed they had agreed a fee last summer before the deal fell through.
Hughes has for some time been interested in the frontman, who has netted 26 Bundesliga goals for Hannover since his switch to them from United in January 2012.
He joined the Red Devils from Norwegian side Molde in 2009 and went on to make nine United appearances, scoring once, in all competitions.
Part of the time during his Old Trafford stint he was back on loan with Molde, and he also spent the 2010/11 season on loan at Blackburn, for whom he scored six times, including a hat-trick in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Norwich. Meanwhile, Stoke have confirmed winger Matthew Etherington's departure from the club.The 32-year-old, who has been with the Potters for five and a half seasons, is coming to the end of his contract and has not been offered a new deal.The Staffordshire outfit have, however, made an offer to their 37-year-old goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.Defender Andy Wilkinson, whose contract was also set to expire at the end of June, has already agreed a new one-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.