West Brom vs Sunderland: Gus Poyet calls for changes to window rules

Sunderland manager’s transfer grievances echoed by Albion counterpart as vultures circle their men

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The Independent Football

Both Alan Irvine and Gus Poyet will be sitting anxiously through the remainder of the transfer window, hoping  1 September sees their respective strikeforces still intact.

The West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland managers know they have priceless assets who will be coveted by clubs with huge purses, offering greater financial rewards to their players.

For the newly appointed Irvine, Saido Berahino showed with his two-goal performance at The Hawthorns on Saturday that he will be a major force if Albion are to avoid another scrap for survival.

Poyet knows that his front-line pair Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham are targets for Hull City and West Ham United respectively.

The Sunderland manager thinks keeping the transfer market going through the first month of the season creates uncertainty and disruption.

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He said: “I am a believer that we need to stop the transfer window before we start the season because, for example, I can come here and buy Berahino if he scores.

“Imagine that tomorrow he could be playing for us, which is not right. Sometimes you can nick a player off a team which will be competing with you – I don’t like it.

“Fletcher and Wickham are getting used to playing together and they like to play together. So I can see that they play with us and they have got a place in the team and they stay.

“When someone offers money for a player, you cannot stop that. I know it sounds typical but there are offers that no one in the world  can refuse.

“I always give the same example. When Ronaldo left Man U, I thought, ‘No.’ It doesn’t matter how much money. But it was the law and Man U said, ‘Oh yes, he is going.’ The same for [Gareth] Bale and every single one.”

Irvine believes England Under-21 international Berahino, having been rehabilitated back into the squad after a couple of off-field controversies last season, will be better developing his career at The Hawthorns rather than seeking the big-money move which seems inevitable.

The West Bromwich manager said: “I hope he doesn’t feel the need to pursue a career beyond here. He could be a top player. He goes about his training every day in a fantastic way and I couldn’t fault him one bit.”

Two controversial incidents last season threatened to end Berhino’s Albion career prematurely. He was involved in a dressing-room clash with his team-mates after a 3-3 draw with Cardiff City which ended with colleague James Morrison allegedly punching him. Then he had to apologise after being caught on video inhaling the legal but potentially dangerous nitrous oxide.

Irvine is content that the striker’s troubles are behind him. “I have not had to talk to him about his discipline,” said the Albion manager. “I was aware of them, as they were well documented.

“Saido has been a model professional. People make some bad decisions at different times. We have all done it. But I have had no reason to speak to him about anything other than to do with playing the game.”

Berahino’s goals – a first-half penalty and a far-post volley soon after the interval – gave Albion the lead after Lee Cattermole had put Sunderland ahead in the fifth minute with a cracking 25-yarder. Sebastian Larsson earned Sunderland a point with an 85th-minute equaliser.

Irvine is banking on Burundi-born Berahino teaming up with £10m club record signing Brown Ideye, once the Nigerian international – an unused substitute on Saturday – has acclimatized to his new surroundings.

Poyet is also expecting more from his own £10m summer signing Jack Rodwell. The former England-21 midfielder, who played just 16 Premier League games in two seasons with Manchester City, was taken off after 68 minutes when he was running out of steam. “Jack needed to do more defending than we would have liked,” Poyet said. “We need to get him on the ball and driving forward.”