West Brom's Januzaj: Baggies must hold onto Chelsea target Berahino

The England under-21 star has been linked with a switch away from The Hawthorns, which would be a major blow for Steve Clarke’s men.

Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj is achieving widespread acclaim after his breakthrough into the Premier League champions’ first-team at the start of this season. However, he is not the only young star seemingly ready to forge a name for himself, with West Brom’s Saido Berahino also proving his ability in the fledgling days of the new campaign.

West Brom are still coming to terms with the departure of Romelu Lukaku after his successful loan spell at the club last term, and as a result have lost a top-notch striker from their attacking arsenal. Despite the presence of some more experienced forwards, it seems that Berahino will be a key man in filling Lukaku’s shoes this term.

The Burundi-born attacker has shot into the limelight by scoring a hat-trick in his first senior appearance for the club in a Capital One Cup clash. From there, goals against both Arsenal and Manchester United in the space of a week have shown that Berahino has a bright future.

The 20-year-old’s rise to notoriety should not come as too much of a shock, as he has represented England from under-16’s up to under-21’s. His place in Gareth Southgate’s squad has been vindicated with two goals in two games this year.

Such is the promise of Berahino, reports have suggested that the young star is a target for Chelsea. The player’s agent has claimed that the forward earns a meager £850 per week, while the attacker’s contract is due to expire next summer.

Despite this, Steve Clarke has stated that he is not concerned and feels that Berahino will remain at The Hawthorns.

"It's just speculation and the speculation is rubbish,” the Baggies manager stated.

"He's under contract with West Brom until the end of next season, so we've got plenty of time to sort out Saido's future.

"He's a sensible boy. He understands that all the rewards and riches come with hard work and he has to just concentrate on his football and let other people worry about his contract situation and whatever.

"Saido has got a big future in the game and all he can do now is work hard and make sure he is still a top player in 10 years' time."

For West Brom, holding onto new star Berahino is just as important as Manchester United’s quest to convince Januzaj to remain at Old Trafford. The striker has the ability to be a superstar, and critically has shown a real eye for goal for the club.

If Clarke can deflect the attention of potential suitors away from his prize asset and offer the player a new contract, Berahino could well be as important to West Brom in the future as Lukaku was last term or Januzaj will be for United.

image: © Catherine Kõrtsmik

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