Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has fanned the flames after refusing to rule out a bid for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino this month.
22-year-old Berahino, who has four goals in 16 appearances this season - starting just eight of those - was subject to a number of bids from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, and after nothing materialising, at one point seemingly went on strike at the club.
The issue was soon resolved, but there is still a sense of ill feeling regarding Berahino at West Brom and the player is allegedly available for transfer. While Stoke would represent a strange career choice, the Potters have made a spate of high profile signings under Mark Hughes such as Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Afellay.
When pressed on the matter by the Stoke Sentinel as reported by Teamtalk, Hughes only increased speculation by providing little clarity on the matter, and didn't deny that his side were interested.
“There was some mention of it (a move for Berahino), but it would be wrong for me to talk about players from other clubs," Hughes said.
When further pressed about Berahino's availability however, Hughes replied: “Yes, of course (I'm aware), but I can’t tell you anything because nothing has progressed. I've been busy.”
One thing Hughes was clear on however was the future of striker Peter Crouch. Crouch, 34, was making just his fourth start of the season in Stoke's 2-1 FA Cup win over Doncaster Rovers - a game which Crouch scored in - and the former Wales manager stated that Crouch was staying put.
"It was an opportunity for Peter to come in and give me something to think about – and scoring a goal hasn’t done his claims any harm," Hughes said. "
“He’s been as patient as anybody and when I give him an opportunity you hope he comes in and shows his quality… and he’s done that.”