Berahino & Stones transfer requests show WBA & Everton shortcomings
Prized Everton asset John Stones has followed West Bromwich Albion counterpart Saido Berahino in handing in a transfer request, as the young England duo seek career moves to bolster their international aspirations. The Three Lions are 20/1 with Coral to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Whatever punters and fans make of these decisions – be they motivated by opportunity for these emerging talents to better themselves, or greed in the form of bigger wages as cynics might suggest – this pair declaring their intentions to leave The Hawthorns and Goodison Park represent respective failures on the parts of Tony Pulis and Roberto Martinez.
Neither of these Premier League bosses have won the argument that the best place for their key players’ development lies in the West Midlands and on Merseyside. Taking Berahino first, the signing of Venezuela international Jose Salomon Rondon looks indeed to be as a replacement for the Burundi-born England squad call-up rather than an Albion attacking partner.
Baggies boss Pulis promised to ‘surprise’ everyone in the transfer market; heads nodded in acknowledgement of the inevitability that Berahino wants out of Albion, despite their rejection of his request, instead of jaws dropping in shock.
West Brom are perpetual strugglers; hence why they presently prop up the Premier League and are 9/4 to be relegated. At least that survival scrap won’t be too grave, as long as Pulis is in charge. Only once under Steve Clarke – a predecessor who proved a victim of his own success – have they promised to be anything more than prized dog fighters.
A club where mid-table comfort is all that can realistically be expected or aimed for is hardly the place for Berahino; a player that scores in big games against big names at his best. Check out his best goals and skills below:
Two Tottenham bids have been knocked back, but rest assured determined deal-maker Daniel Levy will return at a better price – one which Baggies counterpart Jeremy Peace must consider – to furnish Mauricio Pochettino with another poacher to partner Harry Kane.
Pairing the ex-England Under-21 strikers at White Hart Lane secures Spurs’ status as a side with plenty of youthful energy to accompany the high-pressing game that Pochettino wants to play.
Whoever is advising defender Stones, meanwhile, may be showing a level of shrewd pragmatism and piranha-like opportunism that spells the death knell of John Terry. Like their London rivals over Berahino, Chelsea have had offers turned down for the Toffees’ top tackler.
With Blues skipper Terry suspended for the Crystal Palace game, it’s going to be after the international break before he will be seen again on the Stamford Bridge pitch. And that is what an optimist would think.
Jose Mourinho, showing no sentiment for what has come before, could alternatively and quite easily replace his captain with the younger Stones, who is better on the ball and will allow Chelsea to once again play a high line without liability.
Everton will have to agree to sell of course, but it’s their lack of investment in the squad this summer which could have contributed to nudging Stones towards a move from Merseyside.
Tom Cleverley on a free transfer and a permanent Toffees purchase of Gerard Deulofeu have left Martinez’s men in real danger of being left behind by other sides (Stoke City and Palace for example) that show willing to spend on improving their lot.
Whatever fee Everton are willing to accept for Stones – and every England player has his price – will have to be reinvested quickly, as the summer transfer window is open for just one more week and Martinez is threadbare at the back when it comes to choices.
Argentina cap Ramiro Funes Mori is expected to be confirmed as the Toffees’ third first-team summer signing shortly but, with Leighton Baines out for three months, he could well be covering at left back instead of in Stones’ space at centre half.
With raw, untried youngsters as back-up to other senior defender Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka, it is hard to form a logical argument for Everton to improve on mid-table; a backwards step already taken from Martinez’s maiden season in charge.
Both Berahino and Stones’ sagas may go right down to deadline day, but their transfers raise more questions than answers for both West Brom and the Toffees, who are 10/3 for a top six finish.