So what price do you put on a goalscorer? Albion hope to tie up the loose ends of Saido Berahino’s new contract in the next few days.
But after the youngster’s latest match-changing contribution on Saturday, Steve Clarke will surely want his precocious striker locked in a room until he puts pen to paper – before the asking price goes up again.
Berahino did not have a special game at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Indeed, he only came on after stepping off the bench on the half-hour following an injury to full-back Billy Jones.
But the England Under-21 man again showed his priceless knack of scoring important goals at vital times.
And that uncanny talent is what makes the 20-year-old from Burundi so invaluable to the Baggies as they attempt to seal the deal that will end lingering speculation over his future.
Even in the midst of a disciplined, hard-working display out of position, wide on the right, Berahino’s instincts for scoring were clear for all.
He drifted into a dangerous position in the final minute of the first half, collected a clever pull-back from Stephane Sessegnon and planted an emphatic left-footed shot inside Julian
Speroni’s right-hand upright with all the confidence and composure that has underpinned his rise through the Baggies ranks. It is a skill that cannot be taught and one that commands a financial premium, but it is one that turned a scrappy, unedifying game decisively in the Baggies’ direction on Saturday and gave them a crucial win in a fixture that always looked likely to determine whether their start to the Premier League season was viewed as over or under par.
Steve Clarke gives his post-match reaction
Ultimately, Gareth McAuley’s thunderous header seven minutes from time spared the home faithful a tense end to a poor game in which the Baggies, while a fair way below their best, were more than good enough to see off a Crystal Palace side who already look to be in deep trouble at the foot of the table.
But it was Berahino, the youngster who Hawthorns officials hope will finally make the long-awaited leap from academy prospect to first-team regular and who currently picks up less than £1,000 per week, who changed the course of proceedings.
And for that, Clarke himself must take a measure of credit for thinking outside the box when Jones grabbed his hamstring after attempting a cross during a disjointed first-half display from his side.
The Hawthorns head coach had Diego Lugano, complete with experience of playing as a full-back for Uruguay, among his substitutes.
The experienced defender would have represented a more conventional choice to replace Jones.
Instead, Clarke went on the front foot by moving Morgan Amalfitano from his wide midfield role into Jones’ spot with Berahino stepping off the sidelines.
While the move did not provide the extra attacking cohesion the Scot might have wanted, it did send out the message to opponents and supporters that Albion did not intend to take a backward step against the relegation candidates.
And it meant that the youngster who was destined to apply the crucial touch was on the pitch in time to take his chance.
Berahino’s strike came in the nick of time at the end of a first half in which the pressure of expectation appeared to weigh heavily on an Albion side who were clear favourites to see off a poor Palace side on home turf.
Nerves held sway, passes went astray and patience wore a little thin among home fans as the opening period progressed.
Albion had made the early running with Danny Gabbidon and Joel Ward making important early blocks for the visitors.
Then it was Palace who posed the greater threat thanks first to James Morrison’s poor pass into the path of Marouane Chamakh – who was dispossessed by Youssouf Mulumbu – and then to Chamakh’s flick-on for Adlene Guedioura, whose dipping volley was beaten away by Boaz Myhill.
The remainder of the half was disjointed until the final minute, when Chris Brunt’s clever pass down the line freed Sessegnon, who teased right-back Ward before delivering for Berahino to finish from 15 yards.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Gabbidon and Ward again on hand to make timely interceptions before Myhill flew to his left to keep out a deflected shot from substitute Jason Puncheon.
Shane Long should have eased the nerves on 74 minutes when he collected the ball after a fine run from Berahino, only to dwell on his shot and allow Dean Moxey to make a challenge.
Brunt then side-footed past the post when he should have hit the target before turning provider with seven minutes remaining, directing a flat corner to the far post for McAuley to leap above Mile Jedinak and thunder home a header.
In the closing seconds there was almost a bizarre strike from an Albion old-boy as Jerome Thomas misdirected a cross that almost turned into an inspired lob, only for Myhill to claw it away.
And the final whistle brought a touching moment for another, as the ever-popular Kevin Phillips – an unused Eagles substitute – lingered on the pitch to take the applause of a fanbase who will always hold him in their hearts.
There will never be another SuperKev at The Hawthorns but, in their latest, home-grown favourite, the Baggies faithful will hope they have discovered a hero of the future.
First, though, the club must sign him up while they can still afford him.