Peace's direct criticism of Levy suggests a different Tottenham strategy could have landed Berahino

All window long, fans have been asking why Tottenham have left it so late. On Thursday afternoon, West Brom's chairman more or less posed the same question.

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has left his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Daniel Levy red faced.

Even if he somehow now ends up selling Saido Berahino to the north London club, he would have done it only after giving Levy some royal stick.

And a key passage of the statement Peace released on the official West Brom website on Thursday afternoon not only goes after the Tottenham chairman - but his whole transfer philosophy.

Indeed, he stated: "I have the greatest respect for Daniel Levy but he must surely appreciate we would have needed to replace Saido had he left and no consideration of that position has been reflected by Tottenham’s strategy."

Now, that key line in itself is arguably the most important in Peace's whole statement. Yes, he was at pains to state that West Brom have never intended on selling Berahino - and they may never do.

But what the chairman is essentially saying is 'why did you leave it so late, Mr Levy?'

Had due consideration actually been given to West Brom's point of view, the 22-year-old may well have been a Tottenham player by now.

Levy's strategy of leaving things late - something he has done frequently in the past - is designed to get the price down. But, here, Spurs have not only affected a good chunk of their season by not getting players in early enough, they may just have cost themselves an actual signing or two.

Had Tottenham gone in earlier, Peace may well have sold up with the right offer. The West Brom chairman states that Berahino isn't for sale but didn't say that was unequivocal. The fact he has suggested two ways in which Levy could have improved his bids (price and timing) imply he would have been open to a good enough bid.

Tottenham instead decided to turn up late to the party, though, and it looks to have cost them big time on this occasion.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch