NOTE TO PLAYER: BUTTON IT AND SIT TIGHT
THE ruthless treatment of Saido Berahino at the hands of Jeremy Peace and Tony Pulis proves that player power is no longer the rampant force of recent years.
The striker, 22, kicked up a mighty stink when West Brom rejected a bid from Spurs last summer, threatening not to play for the club while chairman Peace remained at the helm.
If the outburst was calculated to force a transfer, it backfired. Berahino was instead dropped to the bench and left to rot by Pulis, who told him to ‘sort his head out’. He has since started just eight games.
Now Peace is preparing to take another hardline stance by refusing to listen to any offers in January.
Say what you want about the evils of Premier League cash. It certainly causes plenty of problems in the Championship.
But, in this case, it has proved a huge positive. Previously, no club could afford to let a £30,000-aweek, £25m-rated asset kick his heels in the reserves. Better to ditch a bad egg and free up a hunk of the budget.
Now, with TV money set to provide a £5bn windfall from next season, top-flight clubs are flush enough to do whatever they want.
As agents drive harder bargains and wages climb in line with income, that will surely change. But, for now, it’s great to see clubs like the Baggies reasserting a bit of authority and proving that lippy upstarts can’t simply trample all over their contracts.