Alan Biggs at Large: There is sheer will for Saido Berahino to come good at Sheffield Wednesday
First off and for the record, I think Saido Berahino at Sheffield Wednesday is a gamble worth the taking on his incentivised deal and I hope it succeeds.
Can’t have been many more intriguing signings for League One. Certainly this is a Premier League talent on a third tier stage.And, as others have pointed out, that couldn’t have happened without the baggage he carries.
Or without respected football people, who’ve seen Berahino much closer up than me, messaging to refer to the former West Brom and Stoke forward as “a waster.”Let’s be clear on this as well.
That sort of criticism only happens to players who have bags of ability. Nobody describes a workmanlike journeyman in such terms.And clear, too, that anybody relaying it - as I did on Twitter last week - is confronting the reality of that perception, not raining on a parade!
The fact is it highlights the challenge Darren Moore and his former Baggie have taken on together - and it is only by facing up to history that you can change the future.It doesn’t matter whether it is an arm around the shoulder or a kick up the backside that works.
Moore will undoubtedly use his knowledge of the person, more than the player, to employ the former and even he admits Berahino has “unfinished business.”But ultimately only the player himself can change the perception of him as someone who, for whatever reason, has failed to fulfil his potential. Until now.
At 28, it might be an odds-against mission but it’s still not too late.Every signing is a calculated risk and if above 60 per cent of Moore’s 14 acquisitions this summer succeed then so should Wednesday.What is important, though, is the sheer will for Berahino to come good from both inside and outside the club.While some supporters reacted with a few of those same doubts emanating from the Midlands, I guess most are more excited than wary.They will certainly give Berahino the benefit of any doubt and every chance to shine. Quite right, too.
And that’s a good start to a fascinating venture. Certainly there is no question that Wednesday need a little more swagger and polish at the top of the pitch.In Berahino they have a man more than capable of being coaxed to provide it.