Alan Irvine admits he would be surprised if West Bromwich Albion entertained any bids for Saido Berahino during the summer window.
The 21-year-old burst onto the Premier League scene last season, when he scored five goals in 32 appearances. This included home winners against both Newcastle United and West Ham United, and more impressively still, he scored the goal which sealed a surprise 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in September.
Berahino has also started this campaign in fine fashion, hitting both goals in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland on the opening day. With the window remaining open until 1 September, this is likely to lead to speculation about the immediate future of the England Under-21 international, with a host of top clubs still on the lookout for additions.
However, speaking after the draw with the Black Cats at the Hawthorns, Irvine insists he Berahino will remain at the club for the foreseeable future. Indeed, should any offer be made for the Burundi-born hitman, he would expect the club to reject them as the youngster looks set to play a big part for the Baggies in the coming months.
“I think everybody should know about him already, but I can’t see any way this club would be interested in letting Saido go,” he said. “You can’t let top young English talented players go. It could be a very big season for him. He is a terrific lad, he is very talented and he works very hard at his game. He is a pleasure to work with. He has got a love for football and with the talent and professional attitude he has got, I think he could be a very good player.”
As for incoming transfers, notable additions include Joleon Lescott, Andre Wisdom, Craig Gardner, Chris Baird, Sebastian Pocognoli and Brown Ideye. The latter cost a club record £10million but didn’t feature against Sunderland, and Irvine has explained the reasoning for leaving the 25-year-old Nigerian international striker on the bench.
“He’s been with us for a week,” the 56-year-old said on Sky Sports. “He is in good condition physically but I think it would be a big ask for him, physically and in understanding what we need him to do. He is still getting to know the names of everyone. It is asking a lot to throw someone into a Premier League game at that point.”