Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans has dropped down the defensive pecking order at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal Getty

Tony Pulis has confirmed his interest in signing Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and also refused to definitively rule out the possibility of Saido Berahino leaving West Brom before next week's transfer deadline.

Despite signing James Chester from Hull City in a transfer worth £8m ($12.2m) last month, the Baggies remain keen to strengthen their defensive options amid rumours disgruntled centre-back Joleon Lescott is set to seek pastures new following a contract dispute.

A potential move for Tottenham's Federico Fazio fell through due to an apparent disagreement over personal terms and while there were initial suggestions such a deal could be revived in the form of a loan, reports from The Mail recently claimed West Brom were hopeful of making progress in their pursuit of Evans this week after originally being quoted £10m for his services earlier this summer.

The 27-year-old, formerly a target for Everton, has yet to feature for United this season as Chris Smalling and the versatile Daley Blind have developed a relatively solid partnership in the absence of Phil Jones, but Pulis is evidently unconcerned by Evans' lack of regular first-team football.

"Jonny would be a great signing for the football club but it's down to the money men and his side, it takes three parties, the player and the clubs," he was quoted as saying by the Press Association in a press conference held prior to the Welshman's return to former club Stoke on 29 August. "I'd love to sign Jonny Evans," he stated.

Pulis was once again forced to field questions on the long-running transfer saga involving Berahino. The highly-rated striker, who finished last season as West Brom's leading scorer with 20 goals in all competitions, has been the subject of long-standing interest from Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham during the current transfer window.

Chairman Jeremy Peace recently confirmed he had sat down with the player and informed him that he would not be sold before the deadline at 6pm on 1 September, with the club said to have rejected a second offer from Spurs worth in the region of £21m.

Berahino's desire to move to White Hart Lane was underlined by his decision to submit a formal transfer request. While that was swiftly rejected, Pulis declined to offer concrete reassurance that he will remain at The Hawthorns beyond next week and claimed his key asset needs to be protected during a difficult situation.

"I never say never about anything until it's closed and factual," he added. "I don't know, we have to wait and see. I wasn't in the discussions the chairman had with Saido. I'll have a chat with the lad when he comes in.

"It's not just about football, it's about the person, about the lad and what he's going through. He's a human being, he's not just a lump of meat who people are trying to sell. He has emotions and having spoken to him he needs protecting I don't think he is 110 percent clear on what his future is. So many people get through to these youngsters."