The Saido Berahino saga has just escalated even higher. On the heels of Berahino being omitted from the match day squad for not being "in the right frame of mind," West Bromwich Albion announced on Twitter and their official web page that the forward has submitted a written transfer request... and that the Baggies have rejected it.
Usually, when a player submits a written transfer request, that's pretty much the end of it. The club will almost always cave to the demands of the player and will eventually sell him (though often not right away). It therefore feels extremely unusual for West Brom to flat out reject Little Bear's transfer request.
However, it's not like this hasn't happened in football before. Remember Luka Modric? Back in 2011, when he was agitating for a move to Chelsea, he also submitted a written transfer request, and Daniel Levy refused to honor it. It spawned a few jokes on line. He eventually played that entire season for Spurs, and was sold to Real Madrid the following summer.
So there are a couple of ways this could play out:
- This is still about money. Despite the posturing, the most likely outcome is still that Saido Berahino will be a Tottenham player at the close of the window. West Brom have always said that they have a valuation and that other clubs must meet it.
- This is really about appearances. Even if West Brom is secretly planning on selling Berahino to Spurs, they may be putting up a bold front to appease Baggies fans, and to try and avoid getting squeezed by Daniel Levy.
- West Brom are serious about not selling. If we're to use the Modric saga as a precedent, then West Brom might just be ready to put up a brick wall around Berahino. But this doesn't make a whole lot of sense since they've already more or less signed players to replace his output, and it's no good to have a genuinely great player moping around the clubhouse or on strike. Still, it is a possibility.