WBA ‘braced for new Berahino battle’ as ‘Palace & Stoke hover’

Date published: Saturday 17th December 2016 11:30

West Brom boss Tony Pulis is fully expecting another Saido Berahino transfer saga – despite the striker’s lack of action.

The 23-year-old has not played since September but is out of contract at the end of the season.

Albion, who are hopeful he will sign a new deal, are in no rush to sell the former England Under-21 international for a cut-price fee.

Tottenham had four bids rejected in 2015, leading Berahino to threaten to strike, while Stoke and Crystal Palace offered around £20million in the summer.

The Baggies could not get a replacement in and refused to allow Berahino to leave but Pulis expects more transfer window drama with the striker in January.

“It’s happened before and it’ll happen again, there will be people talking to him and telling him what he should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s up to him to work it out, he’s big enough now to make decisions for himself,” Pulis said.

“It’s a three party one, there were deals 18 months ago for Saido to leave and it didn’t suit the club so it wasn’t done. It has to be Saido, ourselves and the club who want to buy him. I am hoping he will stay and get his head down and want to stay.

“The window opens again and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Berahino will not feature against Manchester United on Saturday as he regains fitness, having been ruled unfit by the club and sent to France on a training programme.

He has not played for the senior team since September 10 but is training with the squad and featured in the under-23s’ 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Monday, although he is unlikely to return until 2017.

“He played the under-23s on Monday and he needs more games. We need to get him more game time,” Pulis said. “He needs another couple of games before we can put him in.”

The Baggies have risen to seventh in the Premier League on the back of four wins from six games. Salomon Rondon scored a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Swansea to take his tally to seven this season.

Pulis added: “Strikers live off confidence and live off scoring goals. At the moment he’s full of it.

“He’s been fantastic for us this year, it took him a while to settle in. But he’s come back this year and his family is more settled.”

 

Tony Pulis on Jose Mourinho

Tony Pulis: Defended Jose Mourinho

Craig Dawson is available after suspension while Pulis remained tight-lipped over Jonny Evans’ fitness after the defender missed Wednesday’s win with a calf injury.

Albion beat United 1-0 at The Hawthorns last season and are four points and a place behind the visitors.

Jose Mourinho’s side are on a nine-game unbeaten run but with Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte relative newcomers in the Premier League, Pulis believes he has been overlooked this season.

He said: “Very much so. They are wonderful managers, they are new and fresh, everybody wants to know them and everybody wants to talk about them and I think he will understand that as well.

“In some ways the nine games unbeaten hasn’t been mentioned too many times and he can get away and be under the radar and he might enjoy that a little bit.”

Pulis also tipped Mourinho to create a lasting legacy at Old Trafford, like Sir Alex Ferguson, despite failing to last beyond three seasons in his last five jobs, including two spells at Chelsea.

“He has done that but he’s done it with clubs who actually want to move managers on,” said Pulis.

“Madrid stick with them for a while then they move them on, Inter Milan and Chelsea have been the same.

“They have moved their managers on so I’m not so sure how much he was in control of those situations. But when they (United) appointed him I thought he was the right man for the job.

“He’s got all the experience you need and he has worked with big clubs and big players so he understands the pressure and how to put a team together in that scenario and it’s interesting times.”

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