One of the Premier League’s most prodigious young talents, Saido Berahino’s season has been far from a smooth ride. Attempts by Spurs last summer to lure the striker away from his current club West Brom’ were rejected by the Baggies. This led to Berahino’s infamous Twitter outburst claiming he would “never play for the club again”
Handled badly by both club and player, West Brom’s desire to keep hold of their prize asset did more harm than good, the player rarely featuring in the early part of the season and not at all during the final three months of 2015.
Tony Pulis cited attitude problems on Berhaino’s behalf as the root of the problems, remarking that “He’s lucky to be on the bench, never mind starting. He’s a smashing kid but lets himself down at times.”
Recent form suggests these “attitude problems” have disappeared or were in fact non-existent in the first place, although the player is also ‘playing for a move’ it seems, but is nevertheless back doing what he does best – scoring goals,
Clearly chairman Jeremy Peake and the club are desperate to hang onto the 22 year-old but eventually you feel the England U-21 international will have to move on. Neither Spurs or Newcastle met the clubs valuation of the player in January or the summer, something that appears to be the main sticking point, but at least Pulis has seen sense and recalled the player to the first team, for now anyway.
There is sure to be significant interest in the player again this summer, from whom remains to be seen. But where would be the best fit for Berahino? Good quality strikers are in high demand in the Premier League, particularly young English ones, and here we look at a number of possible destinations for the talented hit-man.
Spurs – the club that showed the initial interest back in the summer, the north Londoners would likely be the best fit for Berahino. With little or no back-up to Harry Kane, their bid for the player last August was understandable. Having played alongside each other at U-21 level for England, Kane and Berahino already have a good relationship and understanding of each others game. Berahino would certainly fit in well with Pochettino’s young and talented Spurs side, the only possible downside being the desire of both players to play in the single-striker role preferred by the Spurs manager.
Newcastle – the Magpies failed in their bid for Berahino in January as part of Mike Ashley’s multi million pound attempt to stave of relegation at St James’ Park. Only Aston Villa have scored fewer goals than McClaren’s struggling side, so Berahino would certainly have gotten game time had he moved back in January. He would be an excellent fit at the north-east club, fitting with the tradition of quality English strikers in their history (Mick Quinn, Andy Cole, Alan Shearer etc) The current side contains very few ‘natural’ goalscorers and Berahino would likely become a crowd favourite very quickly. He may even get to play in a ‘two’ alongside Alexander Mitrovic, the potential for a ‘little and large’ combination a promising one. If the Geordies manage to survive for another season in the Premier League, there may well be another bid for his services from Ashley and you can see club and player fitting nicely together.
Leicester – this summer at the King Power is likely to be an interesting one. What direction the club goes in regarding incoming signings we shall have to wait and see. But with the promise of Champions League football (barring an almighty collapse in the remaining ten games of this season) the Foxes will be able to attract quality players and Berahino is certainly that. A partnership between Vardy and Berahino is a frightening prospect for defenders up and down the Premier League, and should Claudio Ranieri look to add to increase his striking options in the summer, the youngster would fit in well will the nucleus of English talent at the King Power Stadium.
Arsenal – it seems unlikely that any of the ‘big clubs’ would look to Berahino, but of all those sides it is Arsenal that would suit best for both club and player. Perhaps not a Wenger type of player, should the Frenchman finally step-down after this season, a new manager at the Emirates could well be tempted to bring in Berahino to help take some of the burden off of Giroud (although he’s arguably a better player anyway). Should the north Londoners move in a different direction regarding player recruitment, the young Englishman would present a good option, his movement in and around the 18-yard box in particular complimenting their wealth of attacking midfielders.
Clearly Berahino is a very talented striker and both deserves and craves a move away and regular football. West Brom may try and dig their heels in again this coming summer in an attempt to keep hold of him, but it would undoubtedly suit the player (and England potentially) if he were to find a different club, one that plays to his strengths and can both nurture and develop his undeniable talent.