Saido Berahino Would Be Ideal Transfer Target for Top Premier League Clubs

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Fulham at the Hawthorns on February 22, 2014 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Saido Berahino's Premier League career has really taken off this season after a series of early-season performances for West Bromwich Albion, but it appears he could leave this summer after a dressing-room incident.

Following reports, via BBC Sport, that the forward is considering legal action against team-mate James Morrison after receiving facial injuries sustained when the two clashed after a weekend fixture, Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reports how Berahino is prepared to go one step further—and ask to leave the club.

After a difficult campaign which WBA are still not sure to escape from without relegation, this is bad news indeed for the Baggies.

But there can be no doubt that the forward has shown enough potential to be a good recruit for a more stable, top-half Premier League side.


Berahino's Season

The 20-year-old's campaign began with a series of substitute appearances, but his impressive displays earned him a starting spot with former boss Steve Clarke in a succession of games.

His goal and general performance against Manchester United brought him to the attentions of the wider Premier League public, while he netted four in total in his first 15 league games of the season—not bad considering that amounted to just two full games, with 11 appearances coming off the bench.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Saido Berahino (L) of West Bromwich Albion celebrates with team mates after scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on September 28, 2013 in M
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He also hit a hat-trick on his debut, in the League Cup against Newport County.

Clarke's departure, though, and the subsequent appointment of Pepe Mel has seen both his game time and impact drop. He has not scored for his new boss, coming on seven times in 10 appearances, with his role and involvement changing considerably.


Which Clubs Could Target Him?

An England under-21 forward with a good scoring record at that level, Berahino will not have any shortage of takers if he wants to depart. The issue will be that he only signed a new contract in December, with his previous one due to end this summer.

Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea were all reported to be interested in signing him if he did not renew that deal, as per the BBC Sport piece.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Loic Remy of Newcatle during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Road on January 28, 2014 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

With a full season as a regular squad player, if not starter, behind him, others will likely feel more comfortable incorporating him in their squad and spending a fee on him.

Newcastle United will surely be looking for at least one forward this summer if Loic Remy cannot be retained and could likely offer him more regular football than the likes of Arsenal.

Southampton are another who could suit, especially with their emphasis on youth and home-grown players, while any Champions League clubs would retain an option to loan him out for further development.

West Brom don't appear to be getting out of trouble any time soon, having won just once since mid-January. They remain one place and three points outside of the relegation zone at present, struggling to find a regular haul of points or a style of note under the new manager.

Assuming the accuracy of reports stating that Berahino is as unhappy with his team-mates as he is with the club, a change of scenery might not be just what he wants but what is also the best for his career to move to the next level over the coming seasons.