I (Scott) once worked with this guy. I’m going to call him Liam (it was the first British-sounding name to come to mind). Liam and I worked together in the same job doing the same work. We were both really good at what we did.
Over time, due to a series of events, Liam came to hate who he worked for. He stopped trying. He didn’t care about his work anymore. Professionally speaking, he was wasting away.
He had become a disgruntled employee who was putting in minimal effort while hoping for a new job to come his way.
We all know Liam. Some of us ARE Liam.
Saido Berahino, it seems, is Liam.
Every transfer window dating back to the summer of 2015 has had Saido Berahino drama. In 2013, Berahino signed a contract extension that keeps him with West Brom through this 2016/17 season. Now, he wants out of West Brom. And he has wanted out for some time.
When the transfer window slammed shut in September of 2015, Berahino lashed out at then-West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace. Berahino publicly mentioned that he and Peace had an agreement for him to be sold to another club. When it didn’t happen, Berahino insisted that he would never play for Jeremy Peace again.
Every six months it is the same. When a new transfer window opens, Berahino wants out. When the window was open again this past summer, West Brom received at least two more serious bids – one from Newcastle and one from Stoke City – which were rejected. When the window closes and the matches resume, Berahino is either out of form and unable to play for West Brom or playing like a man who lacks motivation.
Meanwhile, some of the prime years in his career are wasting away.
This week, things got worse. West Brom announced that they are putting Berahino on a weight training program now that he is eight pounds overweight. The news shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the player’s history with the club. It made me sad. Maybe because I am eight pounds overweight.
Back to Liam. As his co-worker, I was frustrated. His lack of effort required more effort on my part. I knew he could do more. I wanted him to do more as a teammate of mine. But it wasn’t going to happen. I came to resent him a little for his lack of effort. He came to resent me for constantly challenging him. After a couple of tense years together, Liam finally found another job and is doing well.
That’s the difference between Berahino and Liam. Berahino is stuck. Yes, he’s getting paid, and yes, he is the one who signed the contract extension until the end of this season. There is no excuse for him not trying his absolute best every day. West Bromwich Albion and their fans deserve that.
Call him emotional if you want. Criticize him if you must. But be careful, especially if you have ever mailed it in at work yourself.
Because, if you have, can’t you feel his pain? If Jeremy Peace promised to transfer him, Berahino has every right to be upset. Those of us who have played the role of Liam, or at least have observed the Liams in our lives, know how difficult it is to overcome this kind of dissatisfaction with your work.
Most soccer clubs find transfers for their disgruntled players. They might want to keep them, but they understand that an unhappy employee can be a cancer for everyone else at the club. You might as well get some sort of transfer fee rather than paying wages for someone who does nothing on the pitch.
Berahino is wrong for not doing his best. West Brom is more wrong for not finding him a new club. The man has already lost peak years in his career. He deserves the chance to try again for someone else.