The January Transfer Window may have seemed uneventful for several sides, yet one would have hoped that many a talented young lad would have studied the case of Wilfried Zaha and learnt that patience pays off when it comes to planning a move; instead of angling for a transfer out of the club with your mouth and off-field antics, you ought to rise above it all and prove that you deserve to play at a higher level by putting in the type of performances that only raise your profile in a positive manner.
Since breaking onto the scene as a confident, quick, skilful and hungry goal poacher with good technique in the 2013/14 season after spells out on loan to Northampton Town, Brentford and Peterborough United the lower leagues, the Burundian born Saido Berahino seemed to be destined for great things from the offset. His impressive displays in an offensively inclined West Bromwich Albion side were nothing short of impressive and eyebrows would be raised whenever the lad was not included in the starting unit for The Baggies; he seemed to thrive well off the pressure of playing for the side and ensuring that he contributes to them avoiding the drop while giving the fans something to shout about weekly. One would be remiss to not have seen that the lad always seemed like he was playing to earn a move and not to earn a legacy at West Brom, we would never knock a young lad for having ambitions of playing at a higher lever; yet we ought to admit that there is a way of doing things, a decorum and subtlety that Saido has shown a lack of thus far.
Saido Berahino is a footballer cut from a different cloth, a goal scorer with a penchant for the spectacular and an appetite for displaying his magnificent gifts on the regular, they do say that genius minds are often misunderstood by society, yet Berahino has not made it any easier for those that are lambasting his behaviour of late to understand him either. It may be worth pointing out that The Baggies may have priced their prodigy out of the market in the hope of fending off interest from the bigger sides; knowing that their talented forward was always going to attract interest from the sides that can offer the lad an opportunity to play with higher calibre players and compete for major honours, West Brom should have written a minimum fee release clause into his renewed contract instead of waiting on the lad to appreciate in value before slapping him with a £20m asking price that not only scared off his suitors but also seemed to unsettle the lad even further when the offers for his services didn’t come in during the transfer window. The reality for West Brom is that if they want to see Premiership football at the Hawthorns next season, they need to play Berahino regularly and that would also mean that a sit down needs to be arranged where all the stakeholders can air out their grievances and agree on the lad being sold on at the end of the season at market value to the sides he yearns to play for; in all honesty, the most West Brom should be asking for Saido is £12m, they only have themselves to blame for mishandling the off-field situation regarding the lad and they will have to take the financial hit and approach the interested sides with a package that may involve them getting a player or two in exchange to balance the £8m they had added onto his asking price.
The young lad has already gone on record to state that he knows that if he keeps scoring the goals that will keep The Baggies up this season, the fans and the club should have no reason to not give him the blessing to go and play at a higher level next season; Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs and Everton are just a few sides that have the resources and attractive style of play that would attract the versatile forward and West Brom know that selling their academy graduate on could create a platform for them to develop a few more lads that will come up knowing that the side does not refrain from allowing their youth development products from moving onto a bigger side with their blessings. Not every want away young prodigy makes the grade at their new side; Saido will know that for every Wayne Rooney, there is a Scott Sinclair or Adam Johnson and that not every Wilfried Zaha gets welcomed back with open arms when the pastures on the other side are proven not to be any greener. With 14 goals in all competitions already for The Baggies, Berahino has shown that he can make the grade at a higher calibre club while continuing to grow and fulfil his potential to become one of the best forwards in his generation but the lad needs to know that his career could be defined by which club he signs for next and how he applies himself until the end of the current season as a West Brom player. The say that a man is always differentiated by what he does next, Saido Berahino is a young man with the potential to become an elite level goal scorer, yet he will need to remain level-headed and follow-through on that potential; his teammates may be ignoring him over at the Hawthorns but Bob’s your Sewabo, there will be no blanking the lad if he rises above it all and scores the goals that keep the side afloat this season.