A bad week for Aston Villa in the transfer market has seen the Midlands side tumble in the Premier League relegation betting.
First, Fabien Delph broke Villa faithful’s hearts by doing a 360 on his proclamation of loyalty and signing for Manchester City.
Then things got a lot worse with news that Liverpool – awash with cash after Raheem Sterling’s sale to City – had triggered a release clause in Christian Benteke‘s contract by tabling a monster bid of £32.5m.
The potential loss of two key players has seen a collapse in Villa’s price in the relegation market. From a general [5.5] they are now [4.0] fifth favourites for the drop. Only Watford, Norwich, Bournemouth and Sunderland trade shorter than Tim Sherwood’s team.
Benteke to Liverpool has been one of the longest running transfer stories of the summer and an admittedly illiquid Exchange transfer market makes the Belgian short odds-on to leave Villa Park.
The club would be losing a striker of proven Premier League quality as his record of 49 goals in 101 games testifies and there has been a plunge on Benteke to be Premier League top goalscorer with punters trying to get the value ahead of the likely move.
While Villa would surely reinvest, no transfer brings guaranteed quality, as underlined by £26m Roberto Soldado’s meagre return of seven goals from 29 top-flight appearances.
After last year’s surprise FA Cup final these are interesting times at Villa Park. Much will depend on the quality of the new arrivals and the early fixtures will be especially pressured as Sherwood seeks to put a tough off season behind him and establish his reign at the Premier League ever-presents.