Queens Park Rangers will have to significantly increase the bids they have tabled for Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie if they are to have any chance of landing either player before the transfer window closes.
Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, is also hopeful of signing Christopher Samba, the former Blackburn Rovers defender who plays for Anzhi Makhachkala.
Stoke have rejected what they regard as two derisory offers from QPR for Crouch who could be reunited with Redknapp for a fifth time. QPR initially proposed a swap deal involving Jamie Mackie. The London club then returned with a straight cash bid, which valued Crouch at a fraction of the £10m Stoke paid Tottenham Hotspur for the striker 18 months ago. Although both bids were dismissed, Stoke are willing to sell a player who turns 32 on Wednesday and has struggled in his second season at the club, Tuesday night's goal against Wigan his first since September.
"QPR have made an inquiry and discussions are ongoing," Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said. "That is to say I've taken a phone call from Harry and I've told the player of their interest. We don't want to sell Peter and I believe he is happy here, but if the deal is right for everyone, and that includes us, it could go ahead.
"You can't stop deals going through if everyone wants them to happen, but it has to be right for us in terms of both money, and time to find a replacement. If we let Peter go we will need to bring someone else in, because I am not prepared to put the club at risk. We have 30 points and 14 games left so we are still trying to get over the mark.
"I feel we are under more pressure this season than ever before and we can't just assume we are safe. The league is very competitive and anyone outside the top eight can have a bad run, so we will need a replacement. The deal will not happen otherwise."
It is possible that Odemwingie will also move to Loftus Road, although Albion have made it clear that QPR will need to return with a bid considerably higher than the £3m offer that was dismissed on Monday. Albion would prefer to keep Odemwingie but the club have been placed in an awkward position because of the Nigerian's outspoken comments on Twitter in which he accused the club of "stealing" his loyalty and showing him a lack of respect. Steve Clarke, the Albion head coach, said that Odemwingie will face disciplinary action for his extraordinary attack on the club and admitted he was "disappointed" by the player's conduct.
"What I want to say is that it's an unfortunate situation that didn't have to develop," said Clarke, who confirmed Odemwingie will not feature at Everton on Wednesday because he has missed the last three days of training as a result of his newborn son going back into hospital and only recently being discharged.
"QPR have put two bids in for Peter, the club have looked at them and turned them down, feeling that at this time, in this window, the bids weren't acceptable for us. The ball's back in QPR's court – they have to decide whether they want to make another bid.
"Obviously Peter's comments haven't helped the situation. But I have to say I feel that Peter has been really badly advised and I think Harry alluded to it in his press conference [on Monday], when he was talking about gang warfare with agents fighting and trying to get a bit of the deal.
"I think there has been a number of things going on behind the scenes that has maybe turned Peter's head a little bit and that's unfortunate for us, unfortunate for QPR and unfortunate for Peter because now we've got a situation that's developed over the last few days that's not good for anybody."
Asked whether it was possible Albion could keep Odemwingie, Clarke replied: "Yeah, I think we can keep him because if QPR don't come up with a bid acceptable to West Bromwich Albion, then I don't see what the solution is. You can't just let a player go. The club are entitled to get what they feel is a good price for Peter in the window, so that's the situation we are in at the moment.
"If it doesn't happen and Peter's here on 1 February, then it becomes a different story, there are different bridges that have got to be mended and different conversations that have got to be had. But at the moment that's only speculation."
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