Saido Berahino pens new Albion deal
Saido Berahino has signed a new contract with West Bromwich Albion, keeping him at the club until 2017.
Berahino, 20, who was first spotted by Albion as an 11-year-old, has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League side after agreeing a significant increase to his 850-pounds-a-week wages.
Albion's sporting and technical director Richard Garlick has been in negotiations for several weeks with Berahino's representatives and he announced in a statement released on the club’s official website on Monday that an agreement had finally been reached.
"It was always our intention to reward Saido for the huge strides he has made over the past few months. He started to make really positive noises at the start of last season but couldn’t quite break into [head coach] Steve Clarke’s first team," Garlick said.
"But he went out on loan to Peterborough United and did really well. He played games, scored goals and was in a really good place. Unfortunately, he picked up a knee injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season.
"But he came back here for his rehab, got his head down and concentrated fully on getting fit and healthy. At the moment he peaked in his recovery, the first team reported back for preseason.
"That meant he hit the ground running and pretty much underwent a second preseason. He did well in the [preseason] friendlies before really coming to the fore with his hat trick against Newport in the Capital One Cup.
"From then on, he hasn’t looked back, scoring his first Premier League goals and hitting the net regularly for England U21s."
Berahino's future had been clouded with uncertainty for several weeks and a list of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, were reportedly monitoring the player's contract situation.
Garlick insisted it is important for Berahino’s progress that expectation levels remain at a realistic level and he has urged the forward to stay focused on his football.
"To be able to reward one of our proteges, who has worked his way up through the ranks from the age of 11, is a great moment for the club,” Garlick said. "It’s a fantastic story for us and especially for our hard-working academy staff, who have played a fundamental role in his development over the years.
“Producing one or two players who can supplement the first team is something we want to achieve every year. We hope this is the start of that process as we feel we have a number of other young, exciting players coming through.
“Saido’s progress should be an inspiration to all of the players within our academy. He’s not the finished article and he has to remain patient, as we do with him."