Aston Villa’s star striker Christian Benteke has handed in a transfer request at Villa Park, amid reports that the striker has refused to travel to Germany on a pre-season trip.
The 22-year-old was outstanding for the Villans last season, scoring 19 Premier Leagues goals and helping to secure Villa’s Premier League status.
Benteke’s transfer request was confirmed on Villa’s website with a club statement that read:
“In response to reports that Christian Benteke has not travelled to Germany with the club and has made a transfer request, we can confirm that both are accurate.
“For clarity’s sake, however, he had already been given extra time off until July 18 and was reminded that there are three years remaining on his contract.
“We consider him to be a Villa player and expect that he will be with us for the 2013-14 season. Having received his transfer request, we have also informed him that should we receive an offer within an appropriate timeframe during pre-season which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen.”
Benteke arrived at Villa from Belgium side Genk for a fee of £7million last summer. He was a virtual unknown to most Premier League observers. However, the young Belgian had previously attracted the interest of David Moyes, while he was Everton boss.
The Scot is believed to have scouted the striker, but Everton’s lack of financial resources meant that Moyes could not pursue his interest in the striker. Everton’s loss was Villa’s gain, as Benteke gradually became one of the most dangerous strikers in the top flight last season.
Benteke proved to be one of the bargain buys of last summer. If the youngster does move on this summer then it will be for far more than the £7million Villa paid.
There is huge interest in the young striker from a number of teams. The likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester City are all believed to be interested in acquiring the youngster’s services.
Reports from Spain suggest that Atletico Madrid are looking at Benteke as a replacement for Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who moved to Monaco earlier this summer. Atleti certainly have cash burning a hole in their pocket and are in need of a prolific replacement for the Colombian star.
Whether Liverpool can afford to sign Benteke will very much depend on whether the Reds sell Luis Suarez or not this summer. If they do sell the Uruguayan, then Reds boss Brendan Rodgers may then pursue a deal.
Manchester City are not short of cash and are in search of a striker. A move for Benteke will depend on whether new City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes the youngster fits into how he wants his City team to play.
Tottenham are also on the lookout for a striker, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is notorious for the way he does business. He will do anything to get a better deal for his club and Villa are unlikely to let Benteke go on the cheap.
Although Benteke was outstanding last season, he is still quite raw. He does however have the potential and attributes to become a world-class striker, pace, power and agility, all attributes that terrify Premier League defenders.
Aston Villa are unfortunate that the youngster wants to leave the club just as boss Paul Lambert finally looks like he is building a talented young team. In many ways Villa have been victims of Benteke’s success.
However, if Benteke was not a success last season then Villa may have been playing Championship football in the new season. Lambert will be desperate to keep Benteke and build a team around the striker, but the Scot will know that other teams can offer him more money and European football next season.
Villa will have the consolation of a hefty fee believed to be in the region of £30million. The Villans have already spent a fair deal this summer, but no doubt, Lambert will be given a share of the money to continue his summer recruitment.
It is a shame that young players like Christian Benteke feel the need to leave a club like Villa, after just one season. The striker is just 22 and has a whole career ahead of him to play European football and collect bigger pay cheques.
It is also a shame that clubs like Villa are now considered just a stepping stone to other richer Premier League clubs. Unfortunately, as in life, money rules football and those with it always seem to prosper.
Should Christian Benteke leave Aston Villa this summer?