Two years ago, West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino set the Premier League on fire, coming out of nowhere to score 14 goals in 38 matches to help West Brom avoid relegation and stay in the Premier League for another year. Two years on and Saido Berahino, aged 23, is now the biggest disappointment in football.
At the age of 21, Saido Berahino was a star. He had loads of off the field problems including drunk driving charges and participation in dangerous, even illegal recreational drugs (BBC News, 2015), but on the field, he was doing everything right and was banging in goals week in and week out, scoring 20 goals in 45 matches in all competitions.
After the English striker’s incredibly successful campaign in 2014-15, in which he was named England’s U21 Player of the Year, he naturally attracted the interest of big name Premier League clubs such as the likes of Tottenham Hotspur. Maurico Pocchettino came knocking with a big offer for the then 22-year old but Tony Pulis’ side simply weren’t willing to give up what they thought was going to be their star man. After failing to get a move away from the club, Berahino’s body language change, his appetite for the game changed, his mood towards playing football changed and now present day, he just looks a shadow of his former self.
In 2015-16, Berahino only scored 4 goals in 28 Premier League matches, less than he did in 2013-14 when 21 of his 32 appearances were as a substitute. Now this season, after a move failed to go through again, Berahino has looked dreadful and like he doesn’t even care about playing football anymore. He’s been one of if not the worst player in the Premier League so far this season, accumulating the third lowest WhoScored? Rating of players to play all three matches so far, 6.05, (WhoScored?, 2016) and accumulating the second lowest Squawka score so far in the Premier League of -62 (Squawka 2016). The Mastermind also named him as the worst player of the month in the EPL August Roundup. In his three appearances so far, Berahino has won just 26% of his duels, has only had one shot on target, has completed just one dribble and has barely run a kilometre. Now that a move to Stoke and Tottenham has rightly fallen through, the 23-year old is set for his worst season as a professional footballer if he doesn’t get his head in the game.
The Mastermind usually only focuses on the positive, but just couldn’t ignore such a travesty that is Berahino in football at the moment. Millions of fans and players around the world, even top level elite players, making millions of dollars a year in the Portuguese top flight would do anything to play in the Premier League, and put on that West Bromwich Albion jersey. However, the egotistical Saido Berahino now slumps and slugs around the field, never doing anything remotely helpful for his team anymore. I’m willing to bet that a move to Stoke City, Tottenham or Everton didn’t fall through this year because West Brom weren’t willing to let him go, I think that all of those clubs pulled out and became uninterested when they realized how terrible Berahino’s attitude on and off the field has been and how bad his form has been in recent times as a result as well.
Saido Berahino could have been something special. Not many u-21 players breakthrough at such a young age and score as many goals as he did for West Bromwich Albion in 2014-15. If the 23-year old can’t pick his game up soon, he will become one of the best talents to never reach their full potential. At the moment, Saido Berahino is the biggest disappointment in world football.