West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino was spotted in the crowd watching Manchester United in their 2-1 FA Cup defeat to rivals Arsenal on Monday evening, leading the Daily Mail to speculate that the 21-year-old is heading to Old Trafford in the summer.
It has become common knowledge across the English top flight, that the West Brom youngster is eyeing a big move in the near future. In January he had been linked with moves to both Liverpool and Tottenham by the Mirror, but he stayed put, and has since played an integral role in the Baggies' renaissance under Tony Pulis.
Berahino has scored 12 Premier League goals this term, including one against the Red Devils in the club's 2-2 draw back in October. After adding his league efforts to those elsewhere, he finds himself on 18 goals for the season, in just 35 appearances. By comparison, Manchester United's top scorers, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, have just 10 league goals each.
There is little to tell between the Baggies striker and Van Gaal's most prolific marksmen. He has converted 18% of his total attempts this term, having fashioned an average 2.32 attempts per appearance, with his efforts in front of goal proving vital for the Midlands side, who are experiencing a far more prosperous season than the year before.
|Team||Goals||Shots per Game||Shot Accuracy (%)||Conversion Rate (%)||Appearances|
|Saido Berahino||West Brom||12||2.32||40||18||28|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd||10||2.21||36||19||24|
|Robin van Persie||Man Utd||10||2.71||48||15||24|
Young, English and extremely talented, the Old Trafford outfit have a long history of converting players of this type into world class superstars. Throughout his career to date, Berahino has certainly shown the credentials that would see him succeed at the club. His ambition cannot be questioned, nor can his technical ability.
Van Gaal's side have been lethargic in attack throughout the Dutchman's season. Apart from unproven youngster James Wilson - who looks to have an impressive future ahead of him - the Reds lack pace in the striking positions - a problem which would be solved by the pacey Berahino. A future forward partnership of the English pair could be quite something.