Stoke City and the saga of Saido Berahino: Will he, won’t he?

Saido Berahino steps off the bench during West Brom's 0-0 draw at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Saido Berahino steps off the bench during West Brom's 0-0 draw at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /

It’s not a unique scenario in the modern day world of football: transfer talks break down, negotiations stall, fees can’t be agreed. This time Stoke are front and centre – what does the future hold for Saido Berahino?

It has come around quickly. The shutting of the summer transfer window is the final indicator that the season is well and truly underway. Deadline day has fans glued to their phones and computer screens. Has he signed yet? Why have we sold him…! It’s great.

The situation with Berahino at West Bromwich Albion has been going on for some time. Almost 18 months, in fact. Alarms first rung at the Hawthorns when he didn’t celebrate any of his four goals in a 7-0 FA Cup win over Gateshead back in January last year. “I was just handling my business, acting professionally”, were his post-match words.

The boardroom then abandoned planned contract talks with Berahino, as in an unauthorised interview he declared he had only been playing to get a move away.

At the end of that season, the first bid to prise Berahino from the club was launched by Tottenham Hotspur with £15m being the offer. The offer was swiftly rejected by then-owner Jeremy Peace, who valued the striker at £20m-plus.

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  • This triggered an infamous series of events for Berahino. Firstly, West Brom manager Tony Pulis dropped him from the squad amid all the speculation. The board then rejected a formal transfer request, causing a rant of frustration on the player’s social media accounts.

    Berahino declared he would never play for the club again while Jeremy Peace was the owner. In the fallout, the striker was fined for his comments and made to reconcile before playing again.

    The next few months after was a period of time to forget. With minimal appearances and threats of striking, the news of an offer from Newcastle for £21m must have been music to Berahino’s ears. Peace had other ideas – he was staying, again.

    A Change in fortune for Berahino?

    The Potters answered the troubled 23-year-old’s cries for help in July of this year but the £17m plus add-ons offer was declined.

    After Stoke’s initial bid was turned down, West Brom confirmed that Jeremy Peace had sold the club to Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai at the beginning of this month.

    Despite the rumours circling once more, Berahino has handled the window more calmly this time around. No public disgruntlement, no displays of rage on social media.

    The 0-0 draw at home to Middlesbrough was the first game of four this season that the forward hasn’t started. Currently away on holiday, it seems the ex-England U21 player is letting others handle things with regards to his future.

    Berahino is out of contract at this season and West Brom are reluctant to let him leave. Do they sell him now for a healthy fee? Or keep him to help the club stay in the top-flight and let him go for free at the end of the season?

    Stoke look like the current leaders in the race to land the pacey forward, but may need to increase the original £20m bid.

    Fans have grown so accustomed to transfer talk over Berahino that speculation will now of course be taken with a pinch of salt.

    There’s no doubt that Stoke could do with his talent up top. His addition will bring a new dimension to the front-line. Berahino would arguably go straight into the starting XI. This may mean Mark Hughes would need to change the way he sets the team up.

    The transfer window closes on Wednesday night. Will Berahino still be on holiday? Will he make it back in time to sign the paperwork to join the Potters? We wait and see.