Saido Berahino’s attitude improvement and the news of a gentleman’s agreement to sell him to Tottenham occurred too closely together to be deemed coincidence
Saido Berahino is playing much better for West Brom as of late, and fans at the Hawthorns are overjoyed. The only trouble is that the timing of his attitude improvement and the club’s decision to allow him to move to Spurs this summer is incredibly suspicious.
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I’m not one to put on a tin foil hat and pen conspiracy theories, but there’s a lot of smoke on this one. For months, Saido Berahino pouted all around the Hawthorns in an attempt to secure a move away to White Hart Lane. Chairman Jeremy Peace and the club stood firm and denied his move in the summer and in the January transfer window.
After the denial of his January transfer move, Berahino seemed to put his big boy pants on and decide to play like a professional footballer. He’s gotten in better shape, and by all accounts his attitude around the grounds at West Brom has been markedly improved. His play on the pitch has certainly seen an uptick as of late. Teammate James Morrison even went on record to say that the young striker apologized to his teammates at a club Christmas party.
All of that sounds like music to West Brom’s ears, but the news reported in the Guardian yesterday that claims he’s now set for a move to Spurs this summer certainly changes the story completely. Now it seems that the timing of his attitude improvement and Chairman Jeremy Peace’s decision to sell him to Spurs occurred too closely together to be a believable coincidence.
I believe it’s pretty clear that Berahino and Peace had a meeting during the January window and cleared the air. Peace let his young starlet know that he would not be moving in January and that he expected him to get back to focusing on football for the rest of the season. My suspicion is that Berahino agreed to do so in exchange for Peace’s promise to free him in the summer. This theory makes too much sense not to be true.
The alternative theory is that Berahino finally gave in and told the club he’d start playing again, and then several weeks later the club reversed course and decided to sell him after all. There’s no way that Peace would change his mind after watching Berahino’s play improved. The uptick in his star striker’s play would logically only make Peace want to keep his star even more.
In fairness, Berahino’s contract is starting to tick down which starts to erode the club’s leverage in negotiations. If Berahino has flat-out refused to sign a new deal with the Baggies then they need to sell him soon to recoup a significant transfer fee. I suppose it’s possible Peace realized the madness of his refusal to negotiate with Tottenham after some time to reflect. That doesn’t seem consistent with his attitude though.
If a gentleman’s agreement really does exist between West Brom and Tottenham for the transfer of Saido Berahino this summer then his improved play recently is no coincidence. His decision to see the light and play like a professional is much more likely to be a direct result of West Brom’s decision to allow the starlet his dream move.