Premier League

Jones: No tension at Stoke

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Sat, 18 May 2013 20:53:00

Razvan Rat looks set to complete a free transfer move to West Ham, according to the player's agent.

The Romania international's contract at Shakhtar Donetsk is expiring and the left-back is believed to have been a target for the Hammers since the January transfer window.

Agent Florin Manea claims that a deal could be concluded as soon as Monday with Sam Allardyce a big fan of the 31-year-old defender.

"I am with Razvan in England, we are negotiating with the West Ham officials," Marin told Sport in Romania.

"We will probably sign the contract on Monday. The trainer has put him on the top of the wishlist and the owner has approved the move."

West Ham have reportedly fought off interest from Marseille by bettering the deal that the French club could offer the player.

Jones took to Twitter on Saturday night to clarify the circumstances of an incident that has led to Stoke opening an internal investigation.

Jones revealed he had spoken to team-mates on Saturday, including Whelan, after he found a pig's head wrapped in his clothes at the Premier League club's Clayton Wood training ground on Friday.

The 28-year-old reacted by smashing Whelan's windscreen, but he was tonight left to apologise and offer pay for the damage after the Republic of Ireland international claimed he was not involved in the prank.

Stoke are yet to make a statement as to whether any player will be punished for the incident, which came ahead of their final game at Southampton, with Jones claiming the culprit was still yet to come forward.

Jones suggested he and Whelan had now moved on from the matter, denying also that the incident was racially motivated.

Addressing the issue on his Twitter page, Jones wrote: "First off for all the people saying this had anything to with racism I'm not endorsing that.

"Secondly i've apologised to glen Whelan for the destruction of his property.

"For all the people that think that the pigs head wrapped in my clothes was banter great so is the broken window.

"As far as tension in the squad there's nun (sic) myself and whelan had our thrash out and he said it wasnt him so I apologised n im paying for it.

"As for the person who did it no one has come fwd n apologised to me so I guess the joke was gd then.

"But as I said if you have the belly to take banter to that level be willing to accept the reaction. Thats final no more comments."

Stoke midfielder Brek Shea yesterday tweeted a picture of himself with the pig's head with the words "locker room banter gone wild".

The incident came just days after retiring striker Michael Owen had his car covered in eggs and flour by team-mates.

Jones was also involved on that occasion, tweeting a picture of Owen's car to his followers with the explanation that it was a "leaving present" for the former England star.

"For all the ppl that think I did Micheal Owen's car I didn't," Jones wrote tonight.

"I just posted the pics of it , I was never involved in any of the pranks in the dressing room."

Stoke opened an investigation into the matter last night although they were unavailable for comment when contacted by Press Association Sport this evening.

"The club takes seriously reports of an incident at our training ground this afternoon," the club said in yesterday's statement.

"A full internal investigation will be carried out and those responsible for any unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with the club's disciplinary procedures."

Whelan and Shea are both doubtful for Sunday's match at St Mary's due to groin and calf injuries respectively, although Jones has been listed as fit to take his place.

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