Stoke City: Club won't break wage structure for Pennant - Pulis

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has warned Jermaine Pennant the club will not break the bank to keep him at the Britannia Stadium.

Pennant is naturally eager to make his loan move from Real Zaragoza permanent when the deal expires next month, although it is claimed the Spanish club are seeking 6million despite signing the winger for free.

Earlier this month Pulis baulked at the fee when it was mentioned to him, describing it as "ridiculous" and urging Zaragoza to come to "a sensible agreement."

Pulis, however, has also suggested Pennant's wages will have to fall in line with the club's strict policy if the former Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham winger is to move to the Potteries.

"We'll try and do a deal with Jermaine if we can, but we won't go over the odds for him," said Pulis.

"It's very important people recognise this club is run on a very solid base in respect of the finances.

"The chairman wants to keep it that way, and I have no problems with that whatsoever.

"If we can afford Jermaine and we can get the deal done, then that is what we will do. If we can't then we'll have to move on.

"But it's very important we keep the wage structure in place, the chairman is very keen to do that.

"It's a tough world out there at the moment. We live in a bubble and don't appreciate and respect exactly what is going on.

"But the chairman lives in the real world and is trying to work with a system at this club were we do push on, but in a way where we don't put ourselves in financial problems."

Pennant, who has so far impressed since his arrival at Stoke, faces old club Arsenal tomorrow at the Emirates Stadium as City look to bounce back from Saturday's surprise 1-0 loss at home to Blackpool.

But you have to go back to 1981 for Stoke's last win at Arsenal, since when they have lost all eight of their subsequent visits.

The fixture is the prelude to the hectic Christmas and New Year period, one Pulis insists he relishes despite the congestion of matches, and the gripes of many insistent there should be a break.

"I'm actually someone who enjoys the Christmas and Easter programmes," said Pulis.

"People say I'm a traditional football man, but I always felt as a youngster that going out on Boxing Day and New Year's Day to watch a game was a great thing to do.

"At the end of the day we're in the entertainment business, and a lot of people are off over those periods and they love going to matches. The atmospheres are fantastic.

"It's going to be tough, but we spend more money on the recovery side of things now than we've ever done. The players are pampered in a hell of a lot of ways.

"I heard somebody moaning the other day about having to play three games in 10 days, and that's ridiculous.

"If they can't play three games in 10 days then we should lock it all up, close it down and move on to something else."

Pulis has just one main concern ahead of the game with Arsenal as forward Jon Walters missed training in the early part of the week with flu.

Garry Monk.

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