Spurs’ pursuit of £24m West Brom project a mistake

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The career paths of Harry Kane and Saido Berahino have taken significantly different turns since the pair spearheaded England’s U21 European Championship qualification campaign two seasons ago.

Back then it was arguably the latter that was more revered. He was a regular for West Brom during that 2013/14 domestic campaign and led the entire qualification tournament with 10 goals in as many appearances for the Three Lions.

Kane was yet to break into the Tottenham first team and only managed five strikes alongside his Burundi-born strike partner.

Those facts are difficult to remember now that the Lilywhites line-leader has progressed to full international honours and developed into a genuine Premier League goal threat.

The comparison is slanted further in Kane’s direction when it’s considered that Berahino’s development has regressed to the point where, until recently, he had lost his spot in a struggling Baggies side this season.

So the fact that Spurs are willing to fork out £24m for Berahino this summer, 12 months on from failing to secure that very same deal, is strange.

Aside from the assertion that Kane has developed into the better player, having Berahino on board would actually only serve to clutter Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.

As a fabled farmer of young talent, the Argentine would need to give equal game time to the pair of 22-year-olds to aid their progression. Unless he changes his system to incorporate the two as a strike duo, rotating them would be detrimental to their form.

Southampton’s former boss need only look up the road to arch-rivals Arsenal to see that regularly revolving strikers knocks them out of their rhythm, with both Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott looking woefully short of form.

Impassioned Spurs fans would rightly point to the current strategy Pochettino employs with his full-backs as evidence that rotation works. However, there is a big difference between playing three or four games at a time in defence before resting than up front, which relies far more on confidence.

At the price being bandied around, Spurs would be far better off promoting a raw prospect from the academy – like sometime-sub Josh Onomah – to learn the ropes, or acquiring a veteran bench rider to relieve Kane when required.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.