(Reuters) - Mark Hughes hopes Stoke City can conclude their protracted chase of unsettled West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino on a positive note by capturing the signature of the English striker.
The 23-year-old, who was recently sent to a conditioning camp in France to lose weight and regain fitness, has not played since September and not scored in his last 14 games in all competitions, a drought stretching back to February.
Berahino has only six months left on his contract and has been offered a new deal at West Brom.
“I‘m hopeful that we’ll be able to get something done. We’re interested in him as a number of other clubs are. It has been long-winded,” Hughes told reporters on Friday.
“You can lose some enthusiasm when that happens, but I have learned over the years that you have to be patient.”
Stoke, who are 11th in the table after 20 games, travel to face third-bottom Sunderland and Hughes felt his backline needed to keep a close eye on opposing striker Jermain Defoe.
“He has been an outstanding goal-scorer in the Premier League for a long time, regardless of who he has been playing for,” Hughes added.
”He always scores goals and credit to him because he is clearly a guy who thrives off opportunities.
“He can create chances himself too, which is why he has been able to score regularly throughout his career, whether that be in the top-flight here or the MLS (Major League Soccer).”
Striker Jon Walters (knee) and midfielder Bojan Krkic (hip) will miss Saturday’s game, the injured pair joining Marc Muniesa and Phil Bardsley on the sidelines.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru