+++ Update+++

Is this one now off? The West Brom Chairman has gone very public explaining why Mr Berahino will not be moving any time soon:

“I have informed Saido that he will not be transferred during this summer window and that he is staying at the club” said Peace in an official statement on the club’s website.

“As I have made clear from the moment Tottenham lodged their first bid for Saido on August 18, selling our top goalscorer was never on our agenda this summer.

“Our plans have always been based on Saido being part of our squad for the 2015-16 season.

“But there are two other good reasons why he will not be sold.

“Firstly, had we ever entertained the notion of selling him we have not received an offer anywhere near attractive enough from Tottenham Hotspur.

“Not only have the offers been too low as a valuation of the player, but they have been based on stage-payments and add-ons over a long period which do nothing to reflect Saido’s ability and potential.”

“I have spoken to Saido and of course I have sympathy for him. He has been unsettled and distracted by all this and I understand that.

“But I have strongly advised him to put this behind him and get back to what he does best which is to work hard for the team and score goals for Albion.”

Hmm. This confirms the thought below that as far as West Brom are concerned, Tottenham’s offers have been too ‘involved’. But note the subtle gloss that Berahino will not move “during this summer transfer window”. Roll on the mid-season window?

Technique point? Negotiation in a case like this is a lot about money. Huge piles of cash plonked on the table have a way of creating new realities. But it is also about pride and self-respect. Sometimes those factors start to dominate.

In this case, maybe West Brom knew that they were in a strong position and quietly let it be known right at the start that they expected a large cash up-front payment, then started to get annoyed when Tottenham came in with an offer they must have known would be rejected, ‘just to test the waters’. A mis-step right at the start can cause attitudes to get entrenched, particularly if one side feels that the other side is not listening.

It’s especially vexing if you feel that the other side is trying to wear you down. The point may come when you are actually happy with the bid (more or less) but decide to reject it because as you see it the other side have not been respectful.

This is why I use the image of the Vulture to explain how a good negotiator should operate. Circle the target and see what is going on. Check the context and ‘mood’ before closing in on the detail. You may conclude that in a case like this it makes sense to keep it very simple?

That said, you may be listening carefully but just not hear exactly what is being said. Once the West Brom Chairman went ‘public’ and thereby effectively brought West Brom’s reputation (and his own) into play as part of the negotiation, the nature of the negotiation changed completely. Don’t forget that in the small world of football club CEOs and Chairmen, there are also constant negotiations and powerplays going on as they each jostle jovially but toughly for position and mutual esteem…

Oh well. Maybe this fellow will help instead:

* * * * *

The attempt by Tottenham Hotspur to secure the services of West Brom’s Saido Berahino drags on. A new fatter offer has been rejected.

I looked at this a few days ago as an example of negotiating technique:

Berahino knows that he will get a hugely better personal deal by moving to a bigger club, so West Brom start to fear that if they overplay their demands he will get demoralised and not deliver for them on the pitch. Tottenham in turn do not want to be too dogmatic lest some other even richer/bigger club appears and snaffles Berahino instead.

To add to the excitement, the West Brom chairman has made his views public, albeit in a mysteriously phrased way:

Albion Chairman Jeremy Peace said: “Our position remains unchanged. The sale of this player is not on our agenda.”

This, of course, is not the same as saying “Listen – Berahino is NOT FOR SALE! GO AWAY!” But the fact of the Chairman pronouncing publicly adds an extra twist – the respective egos and reputations of the two clubs’ top people are brought into play. Who’ll blink first? Who’s strong and who’s weak? Who looks strong, or weak?

It is all of course simple. West Brom want £25 million for Berahino. Tottenham want to pay less. So Tottenham are offering some money now and more later. But are they being too clever to the point of being annoying? This seems like a well-informed briefing:

I understand the London club’s bid, while worth a potential £21m, was so instalment-driven and littered with add-on clauses it only further aggravated an increasingly tense stand-off between two of the hardest negotiators in English football.

Albion dismissed the offer out of hand as the down-payment was so paltry it would have left the club all-but empty handed in the search for a replacement.

That makes sense. West Brom want and need a fat lump of cash up front from Berahino to get someone else. Tottenham prefer something less blunt.

So, as always, the negotiation turns on striking a balance between Resources, Time/Risk and Reputation. West Brom have the stronger hand, as they are the reluctant seller. For Tottenham the clock is ticking as the transfer deadline looms. But West Brom too need to be careful lest Berahino himself gets fed up with being denied a huge pay rise and a ‘bigger’ club and does not perform for them if he stays.

How will it end? This is where top people earn their money. The top brass of Tottenham and West Brom need to meet far from the public eye and hammer out the core principles of a deal, both with a keen eye on how they each emerge from this exercise with their reputations for negotiation steeliness intact.

Still, in football you never know exactly what you’re buying. Or what you’re selling: