Saido Berahino insists he was always going to sign a new contract at West Bromwich Albion, but he had to make sure it was right before putting pen to paper.
The England Under-21 international has been one of the young stars of the season thus far, having scored six goals in ten appearances in all competitions. This tally includes a League Cup hat-trick against Newport County, and even more memorable, the winning goal in a 2-1 win against Manchester United at old Trafford in September.
Such form has led to suggestions he has an outside chance of gatecrashing the World Cup squad, and he has also been linked with a host of top clubs including Chelsea. However, Berahino has pledged his future to the Hawthorns by signing a new deal to keep him at the club until 2017, and he insists this was always his priority.
“I’m delighted that everything is sorted,” Berahino told the club’s official website. “Now we can move forward. I’ve committed my future to West Bromwich Albion and I can’t wait to keep going. I’ve been at the club since I was 11 and I’m so happy to be here.
“I’d just like to thank everyone at the club for getting behind me. I want to thank the gaffer (Steve Clarke) for allowing me to express myself. He’s given me the platform to play in the Premier League. He’s been good to me. He’s made it easy for me to fit in with the lads.
“Contracts can take time to sort out. I was committing my future to the club so I wanted to make sure everything was right. But everyone has done a fantastic job and I’ve got a contract that I’m really happy with. Now I’m looking forward to the future.”
Whilst a place in England’s squad for Rio may be a little bit ambitious at this stage of his development, Berahino has indicated he would be willing to travel to Brazil with Roy Hodgson’s selected 23-man pool just for the experience.
“If the call were to come, it would be a great learning experience for me, even if I was to go there basically as a tourist,” he told the Daily Mail last month. “Being around the seniors and all the players that have done it before, you would learn a lot just from that.”