Ireland international Glenn Whelan has been lauded as “pound-for-pound” one of Stoke City’s best-ever signings, writes Stephen Barry.
Whelan has the subject of transfer interest among Championship clubs and Stoke’s chief executive Tony Scholes has praised the Dubliner, who was purchased for £500,000 on transfer deadline day in January 2008.
Since then, Whelan has played at least 26 games in each of the nine seasons Stoke have been in the top flight, with a total of 338 appearances in all competitions.
He has consistently defended his starting berth, despite Stoke’s increased spend on transfer fees, even pushing £18.3million club-record signing Giannelli Imbula out of the team last season.
However, the signing of fellow 33-year-old Darren Fletcher from West Brom has once again put Whelan’s position in doubt.
“Glenn is one of our players who's done extremely well,” Scholes told the Stoke Sentinel.
“He has been, and is, a magnificent servant of the club and everybody connected with the club thinks the world of Glenn and what he has done.
“You just need to look at his record. His record over nine-and-a-half years at this club has just been incredible.
“You could almost argue that Glenn goes down pound-for-pound as one of our best-ever signings, given the appearances he's made. Every summer we bring players in and Glenn maintains his position.
“He's been a magnificent servant and I'm sure will remain so unless and until that situation changes.”
Stoke have reportedly turned down a £500,000 bid from Aston Villa, and are holding out for £1million.
Earlier this month, Stoke chairman Peter Coates said Whelan would be allowed to leave if he wishes.
“If someone comes in for Glenn and Glenn wants to go we wouldn't want to stand in his way,” said Coates.
“I don't predict things like that in football but it's a possibility.”