Hughes braced for Berahino transfer battle with Spurs
Stoke ready to compete for West Brom striker Veteran keeper Given in line to face Tottenham
Mark Hughes, the Stoke City manager, is ready to rival Tottenham Hotspur in the £20 million chase for Saido Berahino this summer.
Hughes will renew his interest in the West Bromwich Albion striker but admits he may not be able to compete with Spurs, who face Stoke at the Britannia Stadium tonight.
Stoke and Tottenham both considered bids for Berahino in the January transfer window but were told by Jeremy Peace, the West Brom chairman, that he was not for sale. Spurs made four offers to sign the England Under-21 international last summer and are expected to revive their attempt to bring him to White Hart Lane when the season ends.
Hughes has conceded that he could miss out on signing Berahino if Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs manager, makes another move.
“By all accounts Spurs will always have an interest in quite a few players we are interested in,” Hughes said. “There are players out there who you express an interest in – but because they are good players there will always be other teams involved.
“If we’re being realistic, if a player has a choice of Spurs or Stoke, then we could pitch up and make a good case for them to come here but they may feel Spurs is a more attractive option and we have to accept that.”
Hughes is weighing up whether to play goalkeeper Shay Given tonight in a game that could have a huge bearing on the Premier League title race.
Given, 40 this week, has been overlooked in favour of rookie keeper Jakob Haugaard after Jack Butland was ruled out for the season with a broken ankle. But Haugaard conceded four goals at Liverpool in Stoke’s last game and Given may make his first league appearance since May.
Hughes said: “Clean sheets help. We haven’t had that continuity of the same back four, back five weekin, week-out and that will have an impact on your ability to keep clean sheets.”
Peter Crouch, the Stoke and former Tottenham striker, said: “I would love to see Tottenham win the Premier League. Obviously it would be incredible if Leicester were to do it too for so many reasons, but for me, having spent a good period of my career at White Hart Lane, I would like Spurs to nick it.”
In demand: Saido Berahino is a target for Stoke and Tottenham this summer