Liverpool would be crazy to sign Saido Berahino over Wilfried Bony in January…
It’s been clear for some time that Liverpool need a striker in the January transfer window, but they are facing an embarrassing situation if they agree to pay a ludicrous £23.5m for West Brom starlet Saido Berahino.
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The Reds have an unfortunate habit, particularly in recent years, for paying over the odds for home grown talent – think Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll, and until Monday you’d probably have included Adam Lallana in that list as well.
But as Brendan Rodgers approaches a month where his actions could determine whether or not Liverpool secure a top four finish, it seems astonishing that he would favour a ultimately predictable move for Berahino, over someone of the calibre of Wilfried Bony.
After all, goals have been hard to come by for Liverpool this season – with Daniel Sturridge struggling with injury, and the trio of Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini netting just once in the Premier League between them, and Rodgers needs someone with consistency.
So let’s look at the Berahino move. According to reports in the Metro, a deal is close, but even if we take that with a pinch of salt, as we probably should, there have been too many reports around the switch to consider it complete fabrication, as West Brom would have us believe.
He’s scored eight goals in 22 games this season in all competitions, the last of which came against Crystal Palace in October. Three of those have been penalties, and he was left out of Albion’s latest defeat, against Stoke city on Sunday due to his poor form.
At just 21, he needs further development at a club of West Brom’s stature, where he’ll be playing every week, rather than inevitably sitting on the bench at Liverpool, who in contrast need a player that can make an immediate impact, and help turnaround an indifferent season.
Berahino has only scored 12 league goals for Albion in total, having made his debut in 2010, and he still has plenty to learn despite interest from the Premier League big boys, and the England national team.
His potential is fantastic, but he is not ready yet, and is not the right fit for a Liverpool team that already have a very similar type of player in Divock Origi waiting in the wings, ready to return from his loan spell at Lille come the end of the season.
In contrast, Bony was the Premier League’s top scorer in the calender year of 2014. He is a different type of player to a Sturridge or a Sterling, but has enough mobility to keep up with Rodgers favoured pressing style, unlike Balotelli or Lambert.
He has power, works hard and would likely win over the fans as a result. Liverpool must not do the predictable and chase a young, relatively unproven English talent. Rodgers must spend big on a proven star, or watch his season slip away into mediocrity.