West Bromwich Abion manager Tony Pulis has been speaking about the future of Saido Berahino.
The England Under-21 international has been linked with a move away The Hawthorns this month, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both reported to be interested.
Pulis, who only recently took charge of West Brom, has admitted that Berahino could be sold, but he insists that he does not want to let him go.
“For everybody, we’d like to keep him,” The Guardian quotes the 56-year-old as saying. “You get a situation where (Luis) Suarez goes from Liverpool, when they finish second in the league last year, and they sell him because they thought it was the right deal for the football club.
“Everybody is available in some shape or form. With Saido there is no difference about that. If you’re asking me: would I want to sell him now? Not at all – because he’s been absolutely first class.”
Pulis has also some sound advice for Berahino, who has been hitting the headlines for off-pitch matters recently.
“He’s got his whole footballing career in front of him, he’s been given a gift by God and he’s very fortunate,” he said. “The most important thing that he can do is make the most of it.
“He has to understand and recognise that to be a professional athlete, and a good professional athlete, you have to be disciplined, and that’s most probably the way the conversation went.”
Pulis’s comments are very practical and make perfect sense. It is clear that he does not want to push Berahino out of West Brom, but at the same time it is understandable the Baggies cannot resist a massive offer.
It will now be interesting to see what Liverpool and Tottenham do. If they are indeed interested in the youngster, then they must have got the message from West Brom: make an irresistible offer.
Different reports have different price-tags for Berahino, but he is generally rated between £12 million to £20 million.
It is quite a lot of money for a 21-year-old, but then again, Liverpool and Tottenham both need to reinforce their strikeforce for the second half of the season.