Newcastle needed a lift in January 2016, turning their attentions to West Brom forward Saido Berahino.
The Magpies were battling relegation under Steve McClaren and had already signed Andros Townsend, Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet in a bid to avoid the drop.
The next thing McClaren wanted was a striker, leading to a reported £21 million bid for Berahino on January 31st. On the penultimate day of the window, the BBC reported that the Magpies were willing to break their transfer record for one of England’s hottest young strikers.
This came months after the Baggies rejected a bid from Spurs for the striker in the summer, leading to a spell out of Tony Pulis’ side.
West Brom also rejected the Magpies’ bid, and Newcastle had to settle for a loan signing – Seydou Doumbia. The Ivorian did nothing in black and white, while Berahino ended the season with just four goals. Newcastle went down, while the striker joined Stoke in January 2017.
Since then, his career has been on a downward spiral. He’s been criticised for his attitude and diet by various people. He received an FA ban for failing a drugs test. There was an incredibly lengthy goal drought and relegation to the Championship.
In August 2019, he officially left Stoke. Berahino managed just five goals in the red and white of the Potters.
Now he’s playing in Belgium, joining Zulte Waregam on a two-year deal. And it’s fair to say he’s doing a bit better. His new side are seventh in the Jupiler Pro League, and Berahino has nearly matched his Stoke goal tally already.
The 26-year-old has scored four times in nine appearances, re-finding that goalscoring instinct that thrust him into the spotlight in 2013.
So what would have happened if he became Newcastle’s most expensive player ever in January 2016? I doubt things would have been much better for him.
Newcastle were a mess, which is hardly what the youngster needed at the time. We still probably would’ve gone down with Berahino, leaving ourselves with another expensive problem in the second tier like Stoke did.
Berahino’s career was already starting to go awry before Newcastle made their move. Relegation that summer only would’ve accelerated his demise.
But by the looks of things, he’s getting back to his best in Belgium. For Newcastle though, thank goodness it was Miguel Almiron who broke Michael Owen’s transfer record and not Berahino.