Tottenham have reportedly had a £14 million bid refused for Berahino last week, with Tottenham likely to return in the next 24 hours with an improved offer. Albion insist the player is not for sale unless a bid of £25 million is exceeded. Considering Liverpool spent £35 million on Andy Carroll in 2011, it would be well worth it for a player with huge potential and a proven goal-scoring record.
Berahino was left out of Albion’s squad for the arrival of Chelsea to the Hawthorns because he was not in the right frame of mind. West Brom manager Tony Pulis told the BBC yesterday: “I had a chat with him and it’s very unsettling [being linked with a move away].”
Saido Berahino has become the surprise transfer target of striker-short Manchester City. This summer City have lost two senior strikers and are left only with injury-prone Sergio Aguero and current misfit Wilfred Bony.
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Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea side always play with a lone striker, likes to have three to choose from, with Rademel Falcao and Loic Remy alternates to the prolific Costa. With European football, City need cover up front, making the signing of another striker a top priority.
Pellegrini moved to sign Liverpool’s contract rebel Raheem Sterling for an eventual fee of £49 million, securing pace, creativity and “one of the best young players in European football”. Fulham’s highly rated teenager Patrick Roberts also joined City in an £11 million move but is not expected to feature highly in his first season at the Etihad.
These two English talents have extended Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking options. But, with the knowledge of fewer minutes, Dzeko and Jovetic both went through the exit door. Both wanted more game time and were unsuccessful last season, managing only 9 Premier League goals between them.
Berahino fits City’s bill perfectly: his young age provides a valuable alternative to current strikers Augero and Bony, and a future English international. In spite of his age, Saido already has 70 Premier League experiences across 2 seasons for West Bromwich Albion. He also has a prolific goal-scoring record, having netted 14 times in the Premier League last season.
What might turn out to be the deciding factor, however, is his qualification as a home-grown player. Berahino joined West Brom’s academy at under-12 level after moving to England at 10, to be re-united with his mother and siblings in Birmingham.
Although born in Burundi, he qualifies as a home-grown player after spending over 8 years with West Brom. All premier league squads must contain at least 8 home-grown players. A home-grown player must have spent at least 3 years with a British side before their 21st birthday. Despite signing Englishmen Sterling, Roberts and Delph to join up alongside goalkeepers Joe Hart and Richard Wright, City’s total is only 5.
Berahino has been linked with a move to Tottenham and Newcastle all summer. Pochettino wants Berahino to link up and provide competition for Harry Kane, Berahino’s England U21 team mate and strike partner.
If Berahino was to leave, West Brom don’t need to panic. Seemingly predicting the future, the club have already spent big on Venezuelan international striker Salomon Rondon. Rondon looked a handful for the Chelsea defenders on Sunday, playing lone striker in Berahino’s absence. Since then, it seemed they were preparing for life after Berahino.
Saido needs to consider what’s best. Having giving in a transfer request, it seems clear he doesn’t want to be at the Hawthorns come September. He would have a greater chance of first-team football at Tottenham but Harry Kane is the fans' favourite. Will he be able to walk into the team? Despite this, Kane is going to need support for them to realistically challenge for a Champions League place. Even with Berahino, that remains unlikely.
However, moving to City would give Saido the chance to train and play with better players and experience the Champion’s League. The down side: he will almost certainly be behind Augero and Bony in Pellegrini’s pecking order. Being young, he needs regular game-time to reach his potential.
So, what happens next? Will Tottenham bid again or will a surprise bid come in from City. Only one thing seems clear, West Brom won’t sell unless it’s big money.