Saido Berahino – The Risk Worth Taking?

Saido Berahino could be the new Jermain Defoe all Tottenham fans have been waiting for. It’s quite ironic that he’s been likened to the ex-England international, seeing as Berahino also wears Defoe’s iconic no.18 at current club West Brom.  His stats also prove to be quite similar to Defoe’s. In Jermain’s first full Season at West Ham, he netted 10 goals in 35 games, which isn’t bad for a 19 year old in a much tougher and physical Premier League era. Saido shows similarity, netting an impressive 15 goals in 38 games (all comps) in the 2014/15 season. However, unlike Defoe, Berahino has much more versatility to his play. He’s able to play anywhere in the front four (ST, CAM, RM, LM), which would mean he could provide cover for all positions in which we lack consistency and talent. At West Brom, he seems to be the only one attracting interests from big clubs and seems to be their only real talent, meaning he would probably come at a hefty price. £15 million is the sum that seems to keep coming up, but as he’s West Brom’s only valuable asset, it’s a possibility that they could want £20 million plus.

If we did go ahead with a deal, does he fit with Pochettino’s system? The answer is yes. He’s already played with Harry Kane at England U’21 level, netting an impressive 10 goals in just 11 games, meaning the two could become a formidable force if they played together at club level. He’s only 21, fitting in with Pochs’ buy young and build for the future project, whilst also being English. He’s versatile, meaning he could play behind Kane, replace Kane (when he’s tired, not sold) and can play on the wings. Especially if we fail to sign a new winger, he could be an option on the right seeing as Lamela and Townsend normally fail to perform. Or his versatility could mean the opposite, making Lamela and Townsend work even harder for their places in the starting 11 and start making them produce impressive performances (look at what the signing of Davies did to Rose).  

Is he worth the price for a 21 year old with only one season under his belt? 15 goals for a team who were struggling for most of the season is impressive, also netting 2 man of the match awards for a team that frequently lost during the course of the season. Let’s not forget that even though he only has 1 season under his belt, it was a Premier League season, the toughest league in the world. For £15 million, he proves to be much more value for money than some of the other hot prospects in Europe. Memphis Depay made a £25 million switch to Manchester United this summer. There’s no denying he’s extremely talented, with 23 goals and 5 assists in 30 games. However the Eredivisie is a poor league, so Memphis could thrive a lot more. Not only that, Depay doesn’t hold the versatility Berahino holds, proving he’s only effective on LW cutting on the inside everytime. Raheem Sterling just moved to Manchester City for a staggering £49 million. Now there’s no denying he has talent and potential, but off last season he doesn’t justifying to the most expensive British Footballer. He does hold the versatility like Berahino, but even Raheem can’t decide which position he’s most effective in, whereas Berahino is most effective through the middle but has the talents to play on either wing if needed. Sterling only managed 8 goals and 7 assists last season, comparing that to Berahinos, Saido seems to be the better and cheaper option for now. Maybe in the future Raheem can fulfil that hefty price tag and prove to be a great investment for City.

Lastly, we have Paulo Dybala. On the back of a great season for a Palermo, he scored 13 and assisted 10 in 34 games. That’s impressive for someone of his age, and his form got him a 32 million euro move to Champions League finalists, Juventus. He should justify his price tag, but again he holds no versatility, showing he can only play as a ST, meaning if Tottenham did sign someone like him, he may not fit into Pochettino’s system whilst trying to nudge Harry Kane out of the team seems to be virtually impossible after the season he’s just had.  So yes, I believe he is definitely worth anything between £15-20 million, especially for his age, his nationality and the season he’s just had, and I do believe he’s the potential new Defoe we’ve all been treasuring to partner Harry Kane up top.

On the last note, I want to assess why Berahino might not become what we want him to be if he did sign for us. He doesn’t have the best attitude, which is normal for a 21 year old who’s in command. He would need to change that if he wants to have a good relationship with Maurico. I expect poch would force him to grow up; doing silly things like laughing gas would not put him in the good books at Tottenham. Standing at 5ft 11’, he’s no aerial threat. That won’t be a problem if he plays alongside Kane, but if he plays as a lone striker we won’t be able to play the same way as we do with Kane. Not that we play bad football with Kane on the pitch, it’s just that his heading ability gives the team a different option, whereas we only have one option with Beraino – keep it on the floor. Obviously not holding the same physical presence as Kane, Berahino can’t really hold up the play the way Kane does, so that could also affect the way we play. However, the way Tottenham play their football, Berahino would fit in the team straight away; these are just factors that we may have to consider. But he would be a much better improvement on Ade and Soldado. Sign him up Tottenham, as he is the risk worth taking.

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