Stoke open talks with Carew

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Stoke have taken advantage of Darren Bent's £18million-plus transfer to Aston Villa to open talks with striker John Carew about a move to the Britannia Stadium.



The Norway international is out of contract at the end of the season and following Bent's arrival at Villa Park the Potters spotted an opportunity.



Carew was at the club's training Clayton Wood ground today to discuss a move but has yet to undergo a medical ahead of what is expected to be a loan deal until the end of the campaign.



Assistant manager Dave Kemp admitted Bent's arrival from Sunderland gave them the opportunity to approach the 31-year-old former Lyon forward.



"It opens up other possibilities," said Kemp. "To say we were targeting John Carew [is not necessarily true] but Bent goes there so it might become an option and that is what happened.



"He is a quality player and we would be interested in a player of that ilk.



"He is a very experienced, top-level Premier League striker and he would bring much to the team so we would like to sign him - but so would a number of other clubs possibly.



"There have been discussions but nothing has been finalised."



While Carew is a transfer possibility it seems another forward target, Hoffenheim's Demba Ba, is now off the list after failing a medical.



"He had a problem with his knee which showed up in the medical and he wouldn't be able to play next week so I don't think that is an option at the moment - but that could change at a later date," Kemp added.



"He is a good player we were interested in but for right now I don't think it is going to happen."



Kemp also dismissed speculation linking striker Ricardo Fuller with a move to Sunderland.



The assistant manager insisted they were keen to maintain as good a squad as possible and increase competition for places in all areas.



"That is speculation," he said of Fuller. "He is our player and he has every chance of being involved on Saturday (against Fulham).



"We want as many good players here and as much competition as we possibly can, so we are not looking to move lots of people out.



"We would like to bring one or two in to improve the quality we have."



Kemp feels adding to the squad in January is always helpful, as it showed in their first season in the Premier League when they brought in James Beattie and he scored seven goals in 16 games to help keep the Potters up.



"We brought in Beattie and Matt Etherington in January and they gave us a boost for the second half of the season.



"If we could do the same again we would do but we're not going to panic if we can't because we've got a good squad anyway.



"It gives everyone a push and a lift when someone comes in but it has to be someone who improves what you already have.



"You want competition for places and if you bring a quality player in like Carew hopefully that ups everyone's game."

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