Diao eager to close new Stoke contract talks

Salif Diao hopes to sign a new contract at Stoke City. He told The Sentinel: "I am at the right age. I have experience and that makes a big difference.

Salif Diao hopes to sign a new contract at Stoke City.

He told The Sentinel: "I am at the right age. I have experience and that makes a big difference.

"In Italy, clubs want players aged 31 or 32 because they have nothing else to teach them. Then it's just winning the games rather than teaching young players.

"The injuries are behind me. I played the last few games of the season with no fitness problems and am looking forward to the season."

Diao has yet to agree terms, but is hopeful a deal can be done. He says if terms can't be thrashed out, he will look at rival offers, believed to include clubs in Italy and France.

He said: "Everyone knows how much I love the club and the support I have had from the fans and the manager. But I am 32 and I need to make sure I sign the right contract for me and my family. My first choice would be Stoke, but if we don't agree on terms we would have to go elsewhere.

"I really want to stay, which is why I have not signed anywhere else. That's been difficult because of pressure from other clubs wanting me to sign."