Stoke City boss Tony Pulis is battling to close a deal for West Ham United striker Carlton Cole.

The Sentinel says any prospective move has been delayed because Cole is currently away in Switzerland as part of the Hammers' 26-man pre-season training squad, while Pulis is overseeing Stoke's preparations in Austria.

But the suspicion remains that a stand-off suits the player's contingent to give other clubs time to step in with a bid for the 28-year-old Londoner.

Premier League new boys QPR have also been linked with a move for the England international as they plan for their return to the top flight.

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