West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino is reportedly a target for Arsene Wenger after his good start to the season with both his club and England Under-21s.
Arsenal have recovered from the opening day defeat to Aston Villa to sit top of the Premier League table, having gone on an eleven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. However, striker Olivier Giroud has started 10 of those, and the Gunners look dangerously thin in attack should anything happen to the Frenchman.
Having seen Berahino score against his side in the Capital One Cup third round, in which Arsenal triumphed via a penalty shootout, Wenger has added Berahino to a list of January transfer targets that he could make a move for to strengthen their title assault.
Berahino was playing among the Baggies’ reserves come the start of the season, although he was given a chance to impress by manager Steve Clarke having scored twice in three under-21 games.
He wasted no time in announcing his arrival in the first team, netting a hat-trick on his debut against Newport County in the second round. He then went on to score the winner against Premier League champions Manchester United at Old Trafford to give West Brom their first win at the Theatre of Dreams since 1978.
Clarke is hopeful that Berahino will sign a new contract with the club, which will be a significant increase on his current £850-a-week basic salary, although West Brom are looking to tie-up the deal sooner rather than later with his current contract set to expire in the summer.
However, the board are prepared to reward Berahino for what they see is a deserving offer for his good form, and they will attempt to fend off potential suitors, including Arsenal, from taking him at the end of the season by paying a minimal compensation fee due to his young age.
Clarke gave the Burundi-born Berahino his league debut in the 1-1 draw with the Gunners last weekend, and he looks set for a long run in the Baggies first team which will go a long way to swaying his decision to remain at the club.
"He's under contract with West Brom until the end of next season, so we've got plenty of time to sort out Saido's future," said Clarke.
"He's a sensible boy. He understands that all the rewards and riches come with hard work and he has to just concentrate on his football and let other people worry about his contract situation and whatever.
"Saido has got a big future in the game and all he can do now is work hard and make sure he is still a top player in ten years' time."
Clarke will still be wary though having already suffered frustration in his bid to keep another home-grown Albion player, after Chelsea signed highly-rated midfielder Isaiah Brown in the summer – although the deal is due to go before a tribunal.Reuse content