Stoke City's move for Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy could be a non-starter.

The Daily Mail says Stoke have been bold in their approach but knew they would always struggle to persuade the 32-year-old that the Britannia Stadium was where he could press his claims for a World Cup recall.

Real have injury concerns over Gonzalo Higuain that could yet scupper his move while Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool will monitor events in case they have to gamble in the last week of the window.

Van Nistelrooy's fitness has been the only, but most significant, concern in their reluctance to strike a deal.