Stoke are in talks to sign midfielder Stephen Ireland permanently during the January transfer window.

The Republic of Ireland international is on a season-long loan at the Britannia Stadium from Aston Villa, where his contract is up at the end of the campaign.

Potters manager Mark Hughes said: "We're trying to do something with Stephen if we can. I know we've had discussions with his people and I've spoken to Stephen myself.

"I think there's a willingness on both sides to get something done. Nothing's been agreed formally yet but I think the intention is there to try to do something if we can."

Hughes is keen to do business in the window, with a striker the top priority, but he dismissed rumours midfielder Wilson Palacios could join Real Betis on loan.

The Welshman said: "That's news to me. There's been no contact as far as I'm aware. Jamie Ness has gone out on loan but at the moment we don't anticipate anybody else (leaving)."