Belfast Telegraph

Saido Berahino asks to leave West Brom for Spurs transfer

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Saido Berahino moved closer to joining Tottenham Hotspur last night as he submitted a written transfer request to his club West Bromwich Albion.

The request was rejected but a second Tottenham Hotspur bid for the 22-year-old, in the region of £21m, is now imminent. Berahino is likely to be a Spurs player by the time the transfer window closes next Tuesday, but Manchester United are also reportedly interested.

West Brom responded to Berahino's demand by putting out a statement on their club website yesterday afternoon, saying that his request had been rejected and that the club's position was the same as outlined in chairman Jeremy Peace's comments last week, after Spurs' first bid of £18m had been rejected. At that point, he stated that West Brom "have no interest in selling Saido" and that "the prospect of selling Saido is simply not on our agenda".

Despite that, the player has now made his intention to leave clear and it will be harder for West Brom to reject a bid in excess of £20m for an unhappy player.

Berahino was not in the squad for the Baggies' defeat to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. An agreement between the two clubs is likely later this week.

West Brom manager, Tony Pulis, said: "He's a young lad who needs to be protected. There's loads of stuff going on in his mind and there are loads of clubs, not one but 15, saying things and doing things."

Tottenham's head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, hopes to bring in Berahino so Spurs have the option of playing 4-4-2 for certain matches. So far this season, Spurs have scored two goals and taken two points in three games.

"I think we need one more striker for different games, sometimes to play together," Pochettino explained last week. "This season we can play in two different systems. We worked very hard in pre-season to improve, because we need to play a different way."

Without Berahino, West Brom started Salomon Rondon up front on Sunday, after the Venezuelan forward joined from Zenit St Petersburg last week. Signings from the Russian Premier League have not always travelled well but Rondon is confident about his adjustment.

"I have only had a couple of games and it is very physical, very fast sort of football, but I feel good, I feel comfortable," Rondon said.

"The league I came from has a lot of similarities in terms of the physical contact that there is over here.

"I am trying to be at my best as fast as I can. It is a type of football here that suits me, I think, because of my physical characteristics.

"I need to get to my best as quickly as possible to show my qualities, but I think I am suited to this type of physical game."

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