Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Tuesday July 20 2010
James Beattie and David Kitson look like they'll still be left on the shelf when the season kicks off in three weeks time.
In the clearest snub you'll ever see down at the Brit, they were both left at home when the rest of the squad flew out to Austria last week. In a world when strikers are normally regarded as gold dust and quickly signed for top money, it's striking evidence that something is very wrong with these two that they've not already been snapped up.
There has been no shortage of clubs that have been rumoured to have cast an eye over them both with the media, not surprisingly, favouring a bid for Beattie from Sam Allardyce and a return to Blackburn for the local lad.
Some have suggested that it's because Stoke are asking too much money in a bid to recoup the £5m we paid for Kitson and the £2.5m or so for Beattie. The original figure quoted when James signed was £3.5m but that was assuming additional payments that may not have had to be paid.
But it's unlikely that the club will have been budgeting to get all the money back and more likely that they'll accept a lower bid in an effort to get them off the wage bill and to comply with the rules regarding the number of over 23 year olds that they're allowed in the squad from the start of the season.
So, what's the hold-up? It could be because the players themselves are refusing to accept reduced terms from potential suitors and would rather sit at home than play football. Remember that it was said that Beatts lost the chance to go to Fulham back in January because he was demanding more than he was on at Stoke.
It could be because they're regarded as a risk to dressing room morale after the reported bust-ups between the management and both players over the past year.
Whatever the reasons, I'd still expect them to be gone by the end of August. If I'm wrong, don't hold your breath waiting for them to take to the field again in our red and white stripes.
Date:Tuesday July 20 2010
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