Where Do You Think You’re Going Son?
First off, Christian Benteke wants out and who can blame him? Yes, Aston Villa FC may be the greatest football club the world has ever seen, but it hasn’t been run as such recently and Benteke’s ambition now exceeds it.
Of course, we’ve been in this situation of Benteke wanting to leave before. His agent tried to wriggle Benteke out of B6 two years ago, advising him to hand in a transfer request, but it all backfired when there was no apparent serious interest for the Belgian striker at the £25 million mark Villa were seeking.
Now the bar has been lifted to a £32.5 million release clause, and why not since Andy Carroll went for £35 million, a player nowhere near as good.
The main issue supporters are debating regarding Benteke is should Villa sell if they get an offer near the release clause amount? Some seem to think if Villa don’t sell him now, then next summer he’ll have one year left and go for around the £12-15 million mark. The equation isn’t as black and white as that.
The prime time to sell Benteke was if he had played well in the global shop window that was the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Benteke’s injury with Villa prior to the tournament put pay to any potential sale windfall, but the good news was Villa got to keep their main man.
Now, despite a decent end to the season for the Belgian international, the top draw clubs will have noted the striker’s injuries and the long goal drought he had when he came back from injury, also his no-show in the FA Cup final did him now favours. Villa would probably be fighting off serious suitors if he had bagged the winner in that; football is fickle like that and the hype from such glory helps add millions to a price tag.
Closer inspection of the business already done by the top four teams that could court Benteke suggests they have looked else where, despite what the press have written.
Chelsea, for whom many saw Benteke as the natural replacement for Drogba, are picking up Falcao. Would the Columbian striker entertain being a bit player again, after his troubled season at United? Unlikely, so Mourinho must have made some promises to him.
Manchester City don’t really need Benteke, especially after adding Bony to their striking options last season.
Arsenal too is an unlikely destination – do they need him? Would he fit in with their style?
So out of the top four, maybe only United would/could buy him, but is he for them?
Outside last season’s top four, you can forget Spurs, that’s sooo 2013, as is the re-run of press articles on player exchange deals from White Hart Lane.
Liverpool, who have been the most popular suitor in terms of press coverage, already have Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Mario Balotelli, Borini, Rickie Lambert and the new 29 million recruit Firmino as forward options, not to mention Raheem Sterling, who is still very much at the club. For Liverpool to be serious suitors, surely they must surely sell first.
If Sterling is sold for mega bucks then maybe that might provide Liverpool with the necessary muller to trigger the Benteke release clause? It would seem Benteke’s increasingly desperate agent probably has all his chips on this potential outcome at the moment.
If Benteke sticks around for another season at Villa Park, not only will it be great for the team’s prospects next season, but Villa will have a chance to get serious bidders around the table next summer and not at the depreciated rate some pundits and fans have suggested.
If Sherwood is allowed to upgrade the Villa first-team and some money is spent in the summer (which seems to be the intention from the noises coming out Villa Park and with the change in FFP rules), then there is every chance Benteke will bag his best season goal tally yet for Villa and prove himself a consistent top draw Premier League striker, which would lead him nicely into the Euro 2016 in France.
International Added Value
If the Belgian team finally fulfil it’s potential on paper and goes deep into the tournament in France and Benteke shines in the tournament along the way, then they’ll be no end of suitors for the Belgian and the resulting auction will make sure Villa get comfortably over £20 million for the striker, regardless of him having only one year left on his contract.
Villa Hold the Cards
If a team meets the £32.5 million release clause this transfer window, then fair enough, it’s decent money and if it’s reinvested in the first team wisely, it can only benefit Villa’s improvement. However, if it’s not met, the bottom line is the Villa board need to stand their ground and stick to the clause.
As previously mentioned, Andy Carroll was sold for £35 million, while currently silly amounts are being banded about for the sale of Raheem Sterling. So Villa would be cheating themselves to let Benteke go for anything less than the release clause amount, especially since World Class players don’t grace Villa Park’s doorstep that often. Plus, what’s the odds of getting an effective replacement?
Benteke is a of good character and is not going to sit around and sulk for a season, as he proved last time. Especially if Villa visibly spend in the close season to strengthen, which would perk up his interest for one more season. He’ll also know he’s the main man heading into a season that climaxes with the Euros in France, when he’ll be in the shop window big time to benefit himself and Aston Villa.
Villa won’t lose anything on him by keeping him another season (unless he suffers a long-term injury, but every player carries that risk). In case you haven’t noticed, the team needs him and when you consider Darren Bent cost £1.7 million per goal in terms of solely what the club spent on him, Villa can only profit from keeping Benteke for at least another season.
Stand tough Villa board. UTV
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