The list of potential January suitors for Saido Berahino appears to growing longer, with Tony Pulis revealing he believes as many as five clubs might be chasing his signature. The in-demand West Bromwich Albion striker was at the centre of a very public tug of war throughout the last transfer window and attracted firm interest from Tottenham Hotspur up until deadline day.
Indeed, he was said to have been the subject of as many as four bids from the same club throughout the summer of 2015, with two arriving in the final hours before the window closed. Although each of those approaches was swiftly rejected and provoked the ire of Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace, the speculation regarding Berahino's future has certainly not cooled over the ensuing months.
After reacting furiously to not being allowed the chance to move on, the player has struggled to replicate the kind of form that saw him score 20 times in all competitions last season. Limited to just eight starts in the Premier League since August 2015, the 22-year-old has netted on just three occasions this term.
That lack of goals does not seem to have discouraged further interest developing, though, with The Telegraph reporting that Stoke are pondering an offer that, if accepted, would see him succeed Xherdan Shaqiri as the club's record signing.
Pulis addressed that latest speculation before West Brom's FA Cup third-round tie against Championship strugglers Bristol City on 9 January. As quoted by the Birmingham Mail, he said: "I think there are about four or five clubs who might be interested, and Stoke might be one of them. I hear a lot more than that."
Tottenham are still believed to hold an interest, with Harry Kane currently the only pure striker available to Mauricio Pochettino. Clinton Njie, signed from Lyon in August, sustained a knee ligament injury during the Europa League victory over Monaco in December 2015 and is sidelined after undergoing surgery. However, any deal for Berahino will again hinge on the decision of Peace.
"It's the same as it was in the last window," Pulis said at his pre-match press conference. "Things are bubbling behind the scenes, but nothing's come to the surface. Jeremy will decide. I had my views in the summer, Jeremy's got his views. The chairman runs the football club when it comes to the finances, and it's his decision in the end. But no, there's nothing imminent."