By Editor Wayne Veysey | 17 years experience of breaking major stories at Evening Standard, PA and Goal, including exclusives like this
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Tottenham have been given a boost in their pursuit of Sadio Berahino – by rival manager Mark Hughes.
Spurs are willing to pay around £22million to land the West Brom forward and end one of the longest-running transfer sagas in English football.
The north Londoners have long coveted a deal for Berahino but a frosty relationship between chairman Daniel Levy and his West Brom counterpart Jeremy Peace scuppered hopes of an agreement last summer and again in January.
There has also been strong interest in the versatile young forward from Newcastle and Stoke, with both clubs closely pursuing him in January and the Magpies tabling a £24million bid.
Potters manager Mark Hughes did not mention Berahino by name ahead of Monday night’s clash with Tottenham at the Britannia Stadium but his meaning was unambiguous when he was asked about the two clubs’ pursuit of the West Brom man.
“Spurs will always have an interest in quite a few players we are interested in,” said Hughes, as quoted by The Sun. “There are players out there who you express an interest in but because they are good players there’ll 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.
Berahino has also made it clear that his heart is set on a move to White Hart Lane to reduce the options of Peace and West Brom.
A Spurs source has told Football Insider that the club are willing to pay around £22million to land the forward in the summer as they target a proven Premier League front man to complement Harry Kane.
Peace recognises that the best outcome for his club is to maximise the fee while Berahino still has one year remaining on his contract rather than sell him for a smaller compensation sum in the summer of 2017.
Berahino was frozen out by West Brom manager Tony Pulis for much of the season but he is now back in the team and showing some of the form that first alerted Spurs to his potential.
In other Tottenham transfer news, the club are confident of keeping hold of Jan Vertonghen and tying him down to a new deal.