Jeremy Peace, the West Bromwich Albion chairman, insists Saido Berahino will not be leaving the club when the transfer window reopens.
The 21-year-old has been one of the stars of the Premier League season thus far, with only the illustrious trio of Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez scoring more than his seven goals. Already prolific whilst on international duty for England Under-21’s, with 10 goals in 13 appearances, his form has now led to him being called up to the full national squad by Roy Hodgson.
It is perhaps inevitable that his goal return will result in Berahino being linked with a host of top clubs both at home and abroad. However, he remains under contract at the Hawthorns until the summer of 2017 and is in preliminary talks to extend this stay. Furthermore, Peace is confident the Baggies will retain his services, at least for the rest of this season and hopefully beyond.
In a statement on the club’s website, Peace said: “I wish to assure our supporters that Saido Berahino will not be going anywhere in January or, I hope, next summer. It is not in our minds at all to trade a footballer the club has worked so diligently to develop. He is contracted to play for West Bromwich Albion until at least the summer of 2017 and we are happy to sit down with him and discuss extending that commitment on terms which recognise his continuing improvement as a footballer.
“We have begun that process by opening preliminary talks and are delighted that this development has now taken him all the way to the senior England squad. This reflects proudly on our club and the efforts of all the staff who have played such a key role in Saido’s progress since he arrived here as an 11-year-old. However, it seems to have also generated unwarranted and excitable speculation about his future – which I wish to stress remains very firmly aligned to this football club.”
Should Berahino feature against Slovenia at Wembley in the Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday night or against Scotland in the friendly at Celtic Park three days later, he would become the first Albion outfield player to represent England since Steve Hunt appeared against the Soviet Union in 1984. And should he perform to the ability he has done at club level, it is likely to do little to Peace’s hopes that the speculation will die down when the youngster signs a new contract.