West Brom’s Saido Berahino was a huge Newcastle target last January, when we seemed to be willing to pay ridiculous money for the England U21 International.
But last season 23 year-old Saido did not have a good season, even before Newcastle went after him and by his own admission this year has been a big struggle for him in many quarters.
Newcastle seemed to be willing to pay around £25M for the striker just less than twelve months ago, and now Berahino has only seven months left on his contract at West Brom and could become a free agent in the summer.
Sadio Berahino – shown poor form this season
West Brom will now be kicking themselves for not cashing in on him when they had a chance to make big money on him when Newcastle seemed to go nuts in January trying to sign him last January.
But things have also changed a lot at Newcastle since January with Rafa Benitez basically taking over the running of all football related matters at the club.
And it could be that Rafa isn’t convinced Berahino can ever be a top player, mainly because of issues other than his obvious skills.
He has rarely been fully fit over the last 12 months and he doesn’t seem to fit the profile of players Rafa likes to sign.
They tend to be younger players with huge potential, strong characters but also a willingness to learn and get the best out of the skills they have.
Rafa demands 100% effort in training and in games and for somebody who hasn’t even been able to get fully fit Rafa may not be too interested in Berahino.
In the 2014-2015 season he scored 20 goals in 45 appearances for West Brom, but since then he has only 7 goals in 40 appearances so his form has gone off big time.
The only way Benitez would take him would be as a free agent or for a low fee in January, and there would then be little downside risk for Newcastle.
But Benitez would have to first be convinced more of Saido’s character and temperament than his skills, which were obvious for everybody to see the season before last.
What do you think?