Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes is hopeful of being able to tie down captain Ryan Shawcross to a new long-term contract as the defender approaches the final year of his current deal.
The 29-year-old centre-back agreed a six-year term in November 2012 and talks have been on-going about extending that stay.
"When you've got important players, you want to do something sooner rather than later," Scholes told The Sentinel.
"But that is a very simple statement about what can be a very complicated and long process.
"There's always talks. People talk about 'have talks started?' We've been in contact.
"He's been a great player for the club, he's been here a number of years now, been a huge part of what the club has achieved over the years and we hope that will remain the case for many years to come."
Scholes is also optimistic about being able to re-unite Shawcross with Bruno Martins Indi at the centre of defence after the Holland international, who spent last season on loan at Stoke, returned to parent club Porto with no permanent deal in place.
"Once you start introducing other parties into it, you have to take into account those other parties' position as well," he said.
"So it's not just us, Bruno and Bruno's agent, there's the other club as well.
"Everything has to fall into place before a deal is done but (we are) absolutely hopeful. Bruno has been a good player for us - but we will have to see."