Stoke City are set to offer club captain Ryan Shawcross a new contract, amid speculation around his future.
Reports on Thursday suggested that Newcastle United had made the centre-back their priority signing in the summer, as they plan for their probable return to the Premier League.
Shawcross has just one-year left of his current deal at the Bet365 Stadium and Rafa Benitez had hoped he could lure the 29-year-old to Tyneside.
However, Stoke manager Mark Hughes has rubbished the claims linking his man to the North East, stating that the talk is pure speculation and that a new contract is in the pipeline.
Hughes said: “We’re looking to sit down and re-contract him, along with others.
“That would make sense for everybody. Talk of a move is pure speculation.”
Hughes also admitted that Glen Johnson and Phil Bardsley, who are also out of contract at the end of the season, are in talks to sign new deals.
Meanwhile, Stoke have received mixed injury news, as Ibrahim Afellay has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign after he underwent surgery on a knee injury.
Jack Butland, however, is expected to return to Hughes’ Premier League matchday squad when Stoke meet Hull City on Saturday.
The England international, who is unlikely to start, has been out of action for year after he suffered a stress fracture to his ankle during England’s international friendly with Germany last year.