Since moving to Aston Villa from Belgian side Genk last summer, Christian Benteke has been the one ray of hope in what has been a poor campaign for Villa. His performances has led to plenty of speculation with both Arsenal and Tottenham linked with the striker.
But how good is Benteke? Is he capable of playing for a top four club?
Villa are currently down in 17th position in the Premier League and just a single point above the relegation zone. These are desperate times for the club with the long term future of the club at risk following manager Paul Lambert’s risky policy of playing so many young players. In many ways, Lambert has shot himself in the foot with that decision.
The one decision that Lambert most certainly has got right was forking out £7 million for Benteke, who has an impressive 11 goals in the Premier League this season with 15 goals in all competitions, an outstanding haul for a striker playing in a struggling team. His goals have been invaluable to his club who owe him a great deal for not being in an even lower position. In fact, Benteke has scored over 40% of Villa’s league goals this season. Given those statistics, its no surprise that bigger clubs have taken notice.
“Christian is one of the players of the season for me so far. He’s going to get linked with the top clubs, especially because of his age. He’s young. He’s gifted in what he can do so he’s going to be linked with a lot of clubs. I think he’s good enough for even higher than them (Arsenal and Tottenham). He’s showed that by the way he plays with his composure for a big guy and he has quite a bit of pace as well. There are many aspects of his game that are at the top level."
With Villa flirting with relegation, if the worst was to happen, then Benteke will inevitably leave the club. But how would Benteke fare playing at a higher level?
Aside from his goals, his overall threat going forward has been immense. His strong physical presence and his pace have made him a nightmare for Premier League defenders. His performances against the two Merseyside teams are strong in the memory, where he scored braces against both clubs. Its been very impressive from a player in his first season in
Another point worth mentioning is his team play. Benteke is more than just a target man or a goal-scorer as he brings others into play – he is close to the whole package and is very much a ‘modern’ footballer.
Talent can only take you so far and it is the mental aspect that footballers (indeed all sportsman) that is most important in determining success or failure in any endeavor. Benteke, the son of African immigrants seems to have the desire and the will to go further.
In terms of the two north
At Spurs, the striker situation is a conundrum AVB is looking to solve. Defoe has done well there at times but a world-class striker would make a significant improvement to Spurs and the club will have a striker at the top of their shopping list. Benteke would thrive in Spur’s playing style and would be a great focal point to bring others into play, something that would bring out the best in the likes of Gareth Bale and Lewis Holtby.
Benteke is still a young player and has a long way to go before he is to fulfill his potential. But in my mind, he would be a great long-term investment for either Spurs or Arsenal such is the promise of the young Belgian.