West Brom manager Tony Pulis says the stand-off between the club and Saido Berahino is close to coming to an end, although he admits the rest of the Baggies dressing room could struggle to accept the striker again. Tottenham Hotspur made four bids for the 22-year-old player during the summer transfer window – two of which came in the final hours on deadline day.
West Brom held firm, however, having already rejected a transfer request from the player. Chairman Jeremy Peace was critical of Tottenham's strategy, accusing the club of failing to take their valuation of Berhino seriously, but the saga ended on a sour note for all involved when the hitman tweeted he would never play for West Brom again.
Since last week's fracas, Berahino has been granted a leave of absence but will return to training today (7 September), The Guardian suggests. And Pulis, while acknowledging the striker will have not helped his cause by burning bridges, is hopeful of reintegrating the player into his first team.
"It will be difficult to integrate Saido into his group," Pulis told the Daily Mail. "His attitude will be questioned. The supporters will also be looking for a player who wears their badge with commitment and honestly, they will want to see Saido showing the respect they deserve."
Pulis holds no grudges with Berahino over his desire to test himself at a higher level, but has little sympathy for the striker's current situation given how he behaved in the closing days of the transfer window.
"Saido wants to test himself at the highest level, to push himself to his limits, against and with the top players in this country," the West Brom manager continued. "Every sportsman should be allowed the opportunity to better themselves in life, to be ambitious and not to settle for the comfort zone. Saido's problem has been how he has gone about it, and how he has been manipulated into situations that have put him in such a bad light."
Berahino has not played for the club since the draw with Watford in August, due to the manager's concerns over the player's frame of mind. As far is Pulis is concerned he will have no issue with bringing the striker back into the first team, but admits the impasse between the player and chairman Peace shows little sign of coming to a resolution.
"His gripe is with Jeremy – as far as I am concerned, he will play for West Brom again. I don't think he will talk to Jeremy. The problem is that he thinks he is being used."