EXCLUSIVE: Head banger! Stoke boss Tony Pulis and striker James Beattie in Christmas party bust-up at Arsenal

James Beattie's future at Stoke City has been thrown into doubt after he came to blows with manager Tony Pulis during an amazing bust-up at Arsenal.

Beattie, sources at Stoke have told Sportsmail, believes he was the victim of an unprovoked attack - Pulis is alleged to have tried to butt his star striker - after an argument about the players’ Christmas party.

James Beattie

Gone potty: Stoke City's James Beattie clashed with boss Tony Pulis after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal

The row started in the dressing room at the Emirates Stadium when Pulis responded to Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by informing his players that he wanted them in for training ‘on Monday’.

Beattie reminded Pulis that they were holding their Christmas party in London last night and that he had given them today off.

Tony Pulis

When Pulis refused to back down, Beattie protested and, to the astonishment of the Stoke dressing room, the manager suddenly confronted the 31-year-old former England forward.

Witnesses say Pulis (right) was not terribly successful in executing the butt but did connect with Beattie, who defended himself.

While there were moves to resolve the situation yesterday, Beattie is said to be so upset he is seriously considering his future. He has been happy at the club but he may now ask for a move away when the transfer window opens next month.

Pulis has done a brilliant job at the Britannia Stadium, not just in guiding Stoke into the Barclays Premier League but in keeping them there with an outstanding first season in the top flight.

One of his best moves was signing Beattie from Sheffield United for £3.5million last January. He brought goals and quality to the attack and, despite injury problems, his good form has continued.

Stoke have been impressive again this season, comfortably maintaining a place in mid-table with their combative, physical approach. Pulis’s behaviour is therefore all the more surprising, with Beattie more shocked than anyone.

The club refused to comment on the incident this morning but confirmed the players were expected to report for training.


Before the storm: Beattie battles with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas on Saturday

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