HOLD­ING MY ACES

Martinez has firm grip on Baines and Fel­laini STOKE BRING AN ASS ON BOARD

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By IAN BAKER

hap­pens up and down the coun­try and it is a global con­cern in foot­ball.

“I think the foot­ball au­thor­i­ties need to look into it and not put the play­ers, the fans and the league in this sit­u­a­tion.

“You are go­ing to get peo­ple’s minds turned in ev­ery dress­ing room in the coun­try, but that’s what the laws in the game are forc­ing us to do.

“It’s not a great sit­u­a­tion, so that’s why we want to fo­cus on the games.”

United

boss David Moyes’ at­tempted raid on his for­mer club saw an ini­tial bid of £28mil­lion for the two play­ers.

Ever­ton re­sponded by re­leas­ing a state­ment de­scrib­ing the of­fer as “de­risory and in­sult­ing”.

Moyes (right) signed Fel­laini for Ever­ton in 2008 for a fee that has al­ready reached £17m with add-ons – yet United ap­pear to be of­fer­ing only £16m for the 25-year-old Bel­gium mid­fielder.

Martinez ad­mits he is look­ing at new sign­ings ahead of Mon­day’s trans­fer dead­line, but is adamant no bid has been made to his old club Wi­gan for McCarthy.

“There has been no bid made,” in­sisted the Ever­ton boss.

Char­ac­ter

“I think it’s quite easy to un­der­stand that James is a player I signed at a young age and I’ve got huge ad­mi­ra­tion for him.

“So it doesn’t take any­one to create a lit­tle bit of a story. But there has been no bid.

“What we’re

do­ing ac­tively is try­ing to iden­tify maybe an­other strong char­ac­ter that can help us in the dress­ing room.

“But, as I’ve said be­fore, I’m very, very happy with the squad.

“We made a strong ef­fort to bring play­ers in re­ally early in the win­dow to make sure they could adapt to the dress­ing room and I’m very pleased with that.

“But while the win­dow is open, you al­ways need to be look­ing around to see if you can get any­one to help the squad.” STOKE have beaten Genoa, An­der­lecht and Feyeno­ord to the sign­ing of Liver­pool winger Ous­sama As­saidi on a sea­son­long loan.

And the Pot­ters re­main in the frame to snap up QPR winger Ju­nior Hoi­lett and West Brom bad-boy Peter Odemwingie.

Morocco in­ter­na­tional As­saidi (right) was at Stoke’s train­ing ground yes­ter­day, fi­nal­is­ing terms with boss Mark Hughes and hav­ing a med­i­cal.

As­saidi, 25, has made 12 ap­pear­ances for Liver­pool since be­ing signed from Heeren­veen last sum­mer.

And Stoke as­sis­tant man­ager Mark Bowen is ex­cited by the new ar­rival.

He said: “We’ve done our home­work on it and he is a player that Bren­dan Rodgers thinks highly of. “He’s very pacy and very di­rect. He likes get­ting at play­ers and com­mit­ting them.

“Mark likes that and we’ll be de­lighted to have him.”

Hughes will now turn his at­ten­tions to Hoi­lett and Odemwingie.

Bowen added: “It’s dif­fi­cult to sign play­ers, but Mark and the board want to add strength to the squad.”

AD­MIRED: But Martinez in­sists he hasn’t made

a bid for McCarthy

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