Regrettably, my first post about football for a while revolves around one of the most disgraceful episodes of ‘transfer deadline day’ in some time, and that is saying something. As the title suggests, that episode is the one involving Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion.
He’s been on Tottenham’s radar all summer, being viewed as a potential strike partner for Harry Kane. However, from the outset West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has made it abundantly clear that the player was not for sale. Perhaps, had Spurs come in with a bid of around the £25 million mark, that stance might have weakened a little. Tony Pulis refused to rule out the selling of Berahino, but only if an offer came in for the right amount of money.
It is, therefore, highly unsurprising that insulting bids of £15 million, £20 million and £21 million ‘plus add-ons’ have been rejected. Surely Tottenham’s chairman would have realised that the Baggies would need to replace Berahino if he did go, so the idea of trying to pay the club over a long period of time is rather farcical. As has happened so often in recent years, it looked like a smaller club was about to be bullied into selling one of their star players to a so-called ‘bigger club’. Jeremy Peace doesn’t seem to have taken much notice of that though, as he continued to reject approaches from player and club, in a bid to ensure he got the right amount of money for his star striker.
Quite right too. Just as Everton have refused to give into Stones’ antics, West Brom have put their foot down and demanded a deal that suits them as well as Tottenham and Berahino. Too often are clubs of the Albion’s size pushed aside in these situations, but that hasn’t happened here and that is admirable.
On top of that, Berahino is a contracted West Bromwich Albion player, and has a professional obligation to act like one. Therefore, his tweet stating that he won’t ever play for the club again is simply disgusting. If anyone is to be blamed, it’s Daniel Levy of Tottenham. Had he acknowledged that West Brom might want to replace Berahino, and paid the asking price, Harry Kane could have a new best friend and Berahino could be living the London life he so clearly desires. As a fan of the Albion myself, I would much rather have seen Berahino packing his bags a fortnight ago…provided the asking price of £25 million was met. That way, a suitable replacement might have been brought in and the training ground wouldn’t have to be tarnished by a sulking, ungrateful 22 year old.
On top of Berahino’s refusal to acknowledge his professional obligations, there is the small fact that West Brom have done a lot for him. As a ten year old, he travelled from Burundi to England alone, in order to join his mother and siblings after the death of his father. He joined the Albion academy at Under 12 level and has been cared for since. This outburst of petulance not only reflects his disregard for his employers, but also his total lack of respect for an organisation that have helped him settle into the country in very difficult circumstances.
Saido Berahino should hang his head in shame. His foolish behaviour and ridiculous outburst should not be forgiven, and his actions sum up much of what is wrong with modern football. Not only will his attitude turn fans against him, but it might also rub off on some of his younger admirers. If you’re reading this kids, please don’t try that at home.
As a final thought, perhaps Berahino should have taken a cursory look at his own back four. Joleon Lescott has moved to Aston Villa, his boyhood club. After Alan Irvine left, Lescott was played out of position at left back and has looked a little unsettled ever since. However, no toys were thrown from his pram. In fact, Lescott has been a model professional and continued to put in performances for West Brom. He celebrated Salomon Rondon’s winner against Stoke on Saturday with genuine enthusiasm, despite hoping that he would be on his way out of the club in a couple of days. If Lescott gets booed by any West Brom supporters in our first derby of the year, they’ll be getting plenty of evil looks from me. I’ll stand up and applaud a man who takes his job seriously, before joining the boo boys at the mention of Saido Berahino’s name.