Earlier this season, rumours surfaced linking Liverpool with a move for West Brom’s 21-year-old striker Saido Berahino. Most dismissed the rumours as idle speculation, nothing more than the tabloids linking an English youngster in a good run of form to a bigger club with a reputation for buying young and English, but in recent days those links have resurfaced.
It’s still the likes of the Metro and Express reporting them, with more reliable outlets keeping their distance, but the rumours have it that Liverpool are close to agreeing a £23.5M deal with West Brom for the youngster. Despite this, a deal for Berahino remains unlikely, and earlier today West Brom took the unusual step of issuing an official denunciation of the Berahino to Liverpool rumours.
The club announced on their official Twitter account that the rumours were a "complete fabrication," and more than that that there is no substance to any of the Berahino to Liverpool rumours that have been reported in recent months. Some may see it as the club looking to placate their fans, but given how unusual it is for any club to make such a statement, it’s probably safe to take their assertion at something like face value.
It’s also worth considering whether Berahino would be a sensible answer for Liverpool’s current striking woes. His seven league goals this season on 43 shots are certainly a better return than Mario Balotelli, but for upwards of £20M, in a January window and with the buying club needing goals now, one would expect a target who was the finished product. And Berahino is far from the finished product.
Despite a solid goal total, Berahino hasn’t scored since October. Plus, only three of those seven goals came from open play—the rest were scored from the penalty spot. He’s a promising player by most accounts, but he remains young and inconsistent, and his impressive goal return is inflated by his penalty duties. In short, he’s a good player who might one day be a very good player.
But he isn’t a £20M+ player right now, and that’s a valuation comes close to what he would be worth if he does one day become the striker many believe he can be. That all adds up to a player who would be poor value for Liverpool, and one who at present might not even be an improvement in front of goal on Raheem Sterling, who’s currently filling in for the injured Daniel Sturridge and misfiring Mario Balotelli.
Add it all up—the high price, the youthful inconsistency, the West Brom denials—and you get a rumour it’s likely safe to ignore completely, though that likely won’t stop the rumour mongers talking about it a few more times before the end of January.