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Burnt Berahino bridge means Spurs must pay big for Marseille man

| 16.12.2015

Had Daniel Levy not been so frugal with his summer bids for Saido Berahino, Spurs may not be approaching the January transfer window in such desperate need of a backup striker.

The West Brom forward claimed he’d never don the Baggies strip again after being denied a move to White Hart Lane in the summer. Although his threat fell flat soon after the end of window, the 22-year-old has since found getting into Tony Pulis’ side a difficult task anyway.

Naturally, his absence from the Midlands outfit’s starting XI has brought up the prospect of another Spurs attempt to sign the Burundi-born goal getter this winter. However, the fractured relationship between Levy and his West Brom counterpart Jeremy Peace may mean the north London club look elsewhere.

A regularly-rumoured alternative to Berahino is Marseille’s Belgian international Michy Batshuayi, who is flourishing as first-choice striker for L’OM after the departure of Andres-Pierre Gignac this summer.

Batshuayi and Berahino are both 22-years-old, so fit perfectly into the recruitment philosophy that Mauricio Pochettino prefers to operate with. But the pair are experiencing polar opposite seasons.

Berahino hasn’t started any of West Brom’s last five fixtures and has just three goals to his name all term. Meanwhile, across the Channel, Batshuayi has only been missing from two Marseille starting lineups in all competitions and has 14 goals in his 23 appearances so far.

Of course the difference in the two players’ form means the Belgian will be far more expensive, which could be problematic for Spurs considering it was the price tag that caused the kafuffle over Berahino.

The Daily Mail suggest Marseille will ask for £30m for their man. In the summer, the final bid the Lilywhites submitted for Berahino was around £23m, according to Sky Sports, so whether Levy wants to fork out extra for the Belgian remains a grey area.

A lack of obvious alternatives beyond that pair – Pochettino has already turned down signing Charlie Austin, for example – means Spurs could be forced to pay a premium for a backup striker.

With the Londoners’ top-four challenge teetering on the brink at a price of 8/5, it may be their only option.

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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.