Stoke boss Mark Hughes close to accepting defeat in bid to sign Saido Berahino

20 January 2017 11:39

Mark Hughes' pursuit of Saido Berahino could end in more frustration after he admitted hopes of a deal this month are fading.

The Stoke manager has been a long-time admirer of the West Brom striker but has not been able to prise him away from The Hawthorns.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis described Stoke's offer as "nowhere near" what West Brom are looking for and the lack of progress is concerning Hughes.

He said: "It sways from one end of the scale to the other. I said last week or the week before I was more confident that something might be done. It's fair to say we've probably swung the other way again.

"There hasn't been any progress for quite some time and, if I'm honest, it doesn't look like there is going to be too much progress in the following days.

"I might be wrong, things might change very quickly, but people seem to be very entrenched in their views and their positions. When that happens it's very difficult to move it forward."

Hughes, meanwhile, insisted playmaker Bojan Krkic has not expressed a desire to leave the Britannia Stadium.

The Spaniard has only started six games all season and has been linked with a move to Middlesbrough.

Hughes said: " We saw something in the press saying that if there was an opportunity he'd like to leave. He hasn't said that to me.

"He's our player, he's involved in the squad tomorrow so he's part of what we're doing. I think there have been enquiries but nobody's come back with any bids - we wouldn't encourage them to be perfectly honest.

"If they do come in, maybe then Bojan or his advisor would want to discuss that. But we're not at that point at the moment."

Hughes welcomes his former club Manchester United to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday with both sides in decent form.

The Potters have won their last two Premier League games while United's nine-match winning run was ended by a draw with Liverpool last time out.

Stoke will be confident of taking something having claimed seven points from nine against United at home in their last three meetings, while they also held Jose Mourinho's side to a draw at Old Trafford earlier this season.

"We're playing them when clearly they're on a good run of form and the team is shaping up to be what you envisage a Jose Mourinho team should look like," said Hughes.

"You can see signs that that's forming as we speak. It'll be a big test. It's maybe a game we can enjoy. There's an expectation that Man United will come here and make it difficult and maybe win.

"We'll clearly have something to say about that and have done in recent seasons. We can maybe express ourselves a little bit more and really have a go and that's what I'll be emphasising to my players."

It could be a big day for two strikers.

Wayne Rooney continues his pursuit of the one goal he needs to become United's all-time leading scorer while in-form Stoke frontman Peter Crouch netted his 99th Premier League goal in last weekend's victory over Sunderland.

Rooney has had to settle for a bit-part role in the league of late, and Hughes said: " It's been a little more difficult for him this year maybe, he hasn't started every game, but he's still an outstanding player and credit to him.

"He's stuck at it and that longevity has allowed him to get in the position where he's got an opportunity to break the record.

"We hope it's not against us clearly, we'd much rather Crouchy got his 100th goal, which is really important to him. So hopefully that'll be the case and Wayne will have to wait one week longer."

Source: PA


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