Following his brace of goals against Sunderland in Manchester United’s last Premier League outing, young superstar Adnan Januzaj has been the name on everyone’s lips. Despite the fear of the Old Trafford faithful that the 18-year-old could ‘do a Pogba’ and leave the Premier League champions, he is not the only young star who is attracting interest after breaking into his respective first team.
Ironically, a player who scored the winner against United recently is flying slightly under the radar and should be causing just as much of a stir as new-found hero Januzaj.
Saido Berahino is a graduate of West Brom’s youth system and has had to work hard to make his way in professional football. Born in Burundi, the 20-year-old attacker has charged through the ranks at The Hawthorns and made his debut for the Baggies earlier this term.
The striker has made an immediate impact, netting a quick-fire hat-trick on his senior debut against Newport County in the Capital One Cup. This performance convinced Steve Clarke that Berahino was worthy of challenging for a regular starting position, and he has justified the faith with subsequent showings.
Berahino was also on the mark against Arsenal in the cup, and netted his first Premier League goal at Old Trafford, rifling an effort past David de Gea to give West Brom an unlikely 2-1 win over the reigning champions.
The new star’s stellar performances shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as he has been scoring consistently and impressing in the youth ranks for club and country for quite some time. Berahino has played for England from under-16 level all the way through to under-21’s, where he made his debut this term also.
Gareth Southgate gave the Baggies hitman his debut for the under-21’s and he has netted two goals in two outings for the side now.
With the stunning start to his senior career in mind, like Januzaj, Berahino’s future has been called into question. It was revealed recently that the forward’s current wages are £850 per week – a measly sum for a professional footballer. With Chelsea and Arsenal both being linked with January swoops for Berahino, Clarke would be advised to treat the youngster’s improved contract as a pressing matter.
After Romelu Lukaku’s loan spell came to an end in the summer, Baggies fans must have been looking around to see where their goals would come from this term. However, with the clever midfield additions of Stéphane Sessègnon and Morgan Amalfitano, coupled with Berahino’s emergence, the Midlands side look to have nullified the impact of the Belgian’s departure.
Despite talk of Arsenal and Chelsea, fame and fortune, Berahino would be best advised to try to keep his feet on the ground – and sign a new contract at West Brom. Despite his promising start and evident abilities, he has a lot of growing up to do and progress to make in the game, and under Clarke’s tutelage he can reach his potential. If the early signs are anything to go by, the Baggies have a star in the making on their hands.