The expectation is that Christian Benteke will have departed Aston Villa by the time that the transfer window has closed, but if you share our scepticism over that possibility, delicious odds of [3.0] are available on him sticking around at Villa Park.
Momentum for the prospect of Benteke leaving stems from agent Eris Kismet telling Sky Sports News earlier in June that his client would quite like to play for a club in a European competition.
However, such a tentative statement should carry little weight given that the Belgian went as far as to submit a transfer request in 2013, then signed a four-year contract ten days later. If he didn’t quit even when adopting a very aggressive approach back then, why is there such certainty that he will be off this year when his supposed exit wish has been expressed so much more cautiously?
Aston Villa’s need to keep the forward has been enhanced by the fact that they have lost one of their most high-profile midfielders to Everton in Tom Cleverley and risk seeing international centre back Ron Vlaar flee for free with his current expiring.
Tim Sherwood has mentioned that Benteke has a release clause, thought to be set at £32.5 million, yet did so in a manner which suggested that they won’t settle for anything less than that. Tellingly, three weeks on from that revelation and a fortnight after his agent’s remarks, there have been no reports of concrete offers, indicating that interest hasn’t been quite as strong as anticipated.
Liverpool have been the main suitors discussed, though Sherwood presented a stellar case for that being a bad idea, observing that: “We cross more balls into the box than any other club in the league and Christian has said that he feeds off crosses. There’s no point going to a club where they don’t cross the ball.”
Combine this with Brendan Rodgers’ issues getting the best out of the strikers that he has brought to Anfield – Daniel Sturridge aside – and you have another concern. He afforded his most expensive attacking recruit last summer, Mario Balotelli, a borderline insulting ten Premier League starts.
First-team football is essential to Benteke if he is to fend off the competition of Romelu Lukaku for the Euro 2016 starting berth up front for tournament [12.0] joint-fourth favourites Belgium.
The 24-year-old is guaranteed that if fit at Aston Villa, and his recent injury absences are something else that will scare many sides off bidding £32.5 million. Sherwood’s theory is that a prolific season in claret and blue followed by a successful Euro 2016 will have far more eyes than those of Liverpool on him. Benteke will trade at around [26.0] to be Premier League top goalscorer in 2015/16.