After an impressive debut season in the Premier League, Christian Benteke’s future at Aston Villa is uncertain after the striker submitted a transfer request with a view to a move to a bigger club, not to say that Aston Villa aren’t a big club but the lure of European Football and the higher wages that these clubs can offer is what drives the players these days. However is Benteke good enough?
Being an £7m summer signing last year, many thought that Aston Villa overpaid for the Belgium striker, but Benteke shushed his doubters as he went on to score 19 goals in the Premier League – 14 of those coming in 2013, more than another Premier League player.
Aston Villa have already alliterated that Benteke will only leave if club’s meet their valuation, which is rumoured to be £20m. The importance of Benteke to Villa is not a surprise as the want-away striker scored 40% of their goals and helped them to survive the drop.
The teams who are reportedly interested, Chelsea and Tottenham, are both looking for reinforcements in attack before the start of the new season as they face different issues concerning their strike force.
The future of Torres and Demba Ba at Chelsea is uncertain with rumours of moves away this summer after their struggles, but with the return of Lukaku after his loan spell at West Brom is Benteke needed at Stamford Bridge?
The Belgian teammates have often been compared as they both battle for the single striker position at international level, but it is still difficult to decide between the two.
Judging them on last season, Benteke outscored Lukaku in the league by 19 to 17 goals and was first choice for Belgium throughout the majority of the World Cup Qualifiers. Lukaku did however start fewer games than Benteke, thus having a better minute per goal/shot ratio.
The former West Brom loanee scored a goal every 118 minutes compared to Benteke who managed a goal every 149. Lukaku also managed to have more shots, both on and off target (47 and 34), with a shot on target coming every 43 minutes while Villa fans had to wait 66 minutes on average for a shot on target from Benteke – this could represent the different fortunes between West Brom and Aston Villa last season though.
Lukaku can drift out wide during attacks which would free up a midfielder, most likely Lampard, to make a late run into the box, and this can be seen during his time at West Brom where he made 58 crosses. Benteke can also do this, but he is less likely to cross the ball (only making 11 last season) into the box preferring pass the ball and get on the end of a cross himself.
Tottenham’s interest comes after they missed out on the signing of David Villa as they search for a regular goal scorer after they relied on Gareth Bale due to having only 2 recognised strikers in their squad last season.
Jermaine Defoe started the season well but only scored 1 goal in 2013, while Adebayor was a shadow of the player he was before permanently signing for Spurs. The former Arsenal and Manchester City forward scored 17 goals and got 11 assists in 2011/12, while only getting 5 goals and 1 assist in 2012/13.
The lack of goals coming from strikers last season resulted in Tottenham missing out on a Champions League spot, something that Benteke could have potentially offered. The Villa front-man had a chance conversion rate of 26% last season, which was higher than both of Adebayor’s seasons at Spurs when he converted 19% and 17% of his chances. Benteke also has a more impressive clear-cut chance conversation at 50% compared to Adebayor’s 41% and this season’s low 23%.
While Christian Benteke has impressed many in the Premier League so far, the jury will be out until he continues his performances next season and proves he isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the return of Lukaku and money to spend, Chelsea will probably look to another striker to join them this summer. Tottenham however could be a perfect fit for Benteke with the direct wing play of Bale and Lennon to assist him, whether they would be willing to pay his asking price is another matter.
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