Why Saido Berahino Would Be a Terrible Signing for Manchester United

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Why Saido Berahino Would Be a Terrible Signing for Manchester United
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Berahino celebrates his goal against Palace.

Saido Berahino is a fine player, and his return to the West Bromwich Albion side has made their attack more fluent and effective, but he would be a poor signing for Louis van Gaal's Manchester United.

United's academy appears to have come up trumps again, and the first few performances given by Marcus Rashford have hinted at a bright future. Given Memphis Depay appears to finally be settling in and Anthony Martial has been a revelation, signing another young, promising, multi-functional attacker should not be the Red Devils' priority.

Jon Super/Associated Press
Marcus Rashford celebrates.

As well as the players who have already impressed this season, James Wilson, Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira are waiting in the wings. Wilson is currently on loan and Januzaj and Pereira seem unable to get the Van Gaal seal of approval, but all three are clearly very talented.

That is not to say Berahino is not. Indeed, adding his energy and invention would improve many front lines around the Premier League. Last season was his breakout campaign. He was West Brom's most effective forward by a considerable margin, scoring 14 league goals. Their next highest scorer—Brown Ideye—scored just four.

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Fellaini and Berahino at the Hawthorns in 2014.

Surprisingly for a forward as multi-functional as Berahino, he was not a prolific creator of chances. His 0.9 key passes per 90 minutes of league football last season was just enough to sneak into the top 10 list of West Brom's most creative players, as noted by WhoScored.com. 

It is last season's statistics that seem most relevant when discussing the 22-year old, given that Tony Pulis has often deemed him surplus to requirements this time out. According to WhoScored.com, he is just 14th in league minutes played for the Baggies this season and has made just 11 starts in the 28 game-old campaign.

Things seem to have changed a little, and he has started the Albion's last three league games and—with two FA Cup matches thrown in—has been part of the starting XI for the club's last five games.

He has shown signs of finding form again in spite of Pulis sidelining him for so long, particularly evident with his brace against Peterborough United in the cup and his well-taken goal against Crystal Palace at the Hawthorns on 27 February.

Pulis, when asked about Berahino's chances of making the UEFA Euro 2016 squad, said, per Sky Sports' Dev Trehan: 

Saido's got to get his house in order and get everything sorted out.

He has played a couple of games and played exceptionally well. For the rest of the season it hasn't been a season that he'll look back on with relish.

He has done brilliantly last couple of games. Let's hope he really, really hits form from now and the end of the season and everything changes quickly.

Pulis had been damning of the youngster's season back in January, saying, per BBC Sport

It's been dreadful to have an outstanding player who has dropped off because of circumstances.

It has not helped us at all.

If he's still here [after January], he's got to start realising that this is affecting everybody. He's got to get back to what he was.

Saido has to realise he is a footballer. In my opinion, he has wasted three or four months and he can't afford to waste any more time.

There is a clear subtext there in terms of the player's attitude, or at least his manager's perception of his attitude. That will perhaps be held as a knock against him as he seeks a move to a club that plays on a bigger stage than West Brom. However, assuming he can get his attitude right, his talent is evident, and he could be a real asset somewhere.

That club should not be Manchester United, though. There are plenty of areas in which United need to strengthen, but they are well-stocked with up-and-coming, skilful, creative young forwards, thus Berahino does not fit the bill at Old Trafford.

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