Exclusive - Stoke are in talks with long-serving defender and club captain Ryan Shawcross over terminating his contract and allowing him to join MLS side Inter Miami on a free transfer.
Shawcross joined Stoke, initially on loan, in 2007 and has played over 450 games for the club in all competitions. But the 33-year-old has largely been out of the picture for the last couple of years because of a string of injures, including a broken leg suffered in July 2019.
90min has learned that he is close to securing a move to Inter Miami, who are co-owned by David Beckham and recently appointed Phil Neville as manager. Shawcross joined first club Manchester United as a 14-year-old when both were starring in the first-team at Old Trafford.
The player’s current Stoke contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but talks are ongoing that could see him leave a few months early and link up with Inter in time for pre-season ahead of the 2021 MLS season, which is scheduled to begin in April.
Miami already boast a squad that includes former Juventus stars Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, while they have also invested in young Latin American players like Matias Pellegrini and Rodolfo Pizarro, both of whom have been handed ‘Designated Player’ status.
Latin American culture is tremendously important to the club, who have built an identity to reflect the largely bi-lingual local community in south Florida and have 10 native Spanish speakers in the squad. But they are no strangers to looking further afield for players and also brought in former Celtic and Sunderland winger Lewis Morgan last year.
Shawcross, who was one of the Premier League’s top centre-backs at his peak and even played his way into the England set-up, will add a wealth of experience to the defensive ranks ahead of an important second season in MLS for the club, having disappointed in their debut year in 2020.