Albion’s Gareth McAuley today urged the Baggies to sort out Saido Berahino’s new contract soon to avoid distracting the red-hot young striker.
The defender believes the club need to pull out all the stops to reward the 20-year-old’s flying start to the season and prevent speculation that could affect his form.
Berahino scored the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Manchester United after a hat-trick on his full debut in the Capital One and is in talks over an extended Hawthorns deal.
McAuley said: “It is very important for Saido and for the club because he doesn’t need speculation starting.
“He doesn’t want anything that will make him take his eye off the ball. I’m sure there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to get that sorted, and the sooner it’s done the better.”
Berahino’s emergence has gone hand in hand with the appearance of French loan signing Morgan Amalfitano, who grabbed his second goal in three Premier League appearances to open the scoring at Old Trafford.
And sporting and technical director Richard Garlick has revealed how the 29-year-old arrived at The Hawthorns after five years of scouting.
“I don’t think, internally, we’re that surprised how well he’s done,” said Garlick. “We’ve got 17 reports over the last five years and we followed him a lot over the last two years. Steve Clarke also knew him from games against Marseille in the Champions League.”
“We had watched him for a while but he was someone we weren’t really expecting to become available to us. He was clearly at the level we thought was right for us.”