Is Benteke Worth It?

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It has been widely reported from Aston Villa that their star striker Christian Benteke has submitted a transfer request in order to force a move to a bigger club after just one season with the Villa club which saw him score 23 goals in all competitions. This request is a surprise to the Villa faithful and has been taken as a lack of respect to the club and manager who brought him in. Villa issued the following statement to confirm the news:

“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 18th 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.”

So what does this all mean?

Christian Benteke thinks he’s ready for a top club and he’s willing to anger his employers in order to get to a team that is considered a top club. That being said there are no shortage of interested teams in him ranging from Atletico Madrid to Borussia Dortmund to London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham. This comes as an even bigger blow for Aston Villa’s manager Paul Lambert who took the chance on him becoming a star by paying a decent fee (7.75 million Euros reported) and starting him over the club’s record signing Darren Bent not 11 months ago. Though Christian has repaid that faith with his outstanding performances all season and leading his team out of the regulation fight almost single-handedly,

Paul Lambert and many Villa fans will not respect his decision to leave after just one season with them. Rightly frustrated, Lambert will not want to see him go and put up a price tag of 25 million euros in order to scare any potential bidders into putting their money where their mouth is. As a Tottenham fan, this is where things get tricky. Spurs club record signing happened just last week with the signing of Paulinho from Corinthians for a reported £17 million (BBC). Thats about 8m more than what they just splashed out on their club record signing and Daniel Levy will not be batting his eyelashes out on that figure. Tottenham however, are in desperate need of a striker and one of the mould of Benteke ticks all of the boxes: Strong, fast, powerful, magnificent in the air, great hold-up play, good on the counter and all at the ripe age of 22 from a country (Belgium) that is making a lot of noise in the Premier League.

This season has stood out to be his best of his career and has lead to an increased amount of playing time on the international level which has seen him score 6 goals in 14 appearances for his national side Belgium. These figures and all the hype surrounding the player has made Tottenham more than interested suitors who are willing to splash out a club record amount of money on him due to the fact that he is a proven Premier League scorer (19 goals in 34 appearances) and his potential to be a starter for years to come. It all leads to the question: Is Benteke really worth it for Tottenham?

[While I try to answer this question throughout this beautiful article, as a Tottenham fan you must remember that while we are currently looking for a world class striker to lead the line, REMEMBER that if we purchase a player like Benteke we are essentially buying not only the player he is now (which btw I think is fantastic) but even more the player he will become. Basically I want you to remember we are buying potential and potential doesn’t come cheap. Though I wish it did so Levy would wrap things up already!]

Well lets just start off with cold hard facts. Benteke has scored 19 Premier League goals. Our striker combination of Adebayor and Defoe scored a grand total of 15. Just the cold hard fact that he’s scored more than both of them combined tells us something very important: that he’s a proven Premier League scorer. However you look at it, his position solely relies on him scoring goals and he has proved he can do that in one of the best leagues in the world in his first season. The number is not what impresses me however, what impresses me more is how many of his goals won his team points. Thats just it, its one thing to score goals, but its the importance of his goals that matter as well. The big Belgian has won his team 18 points with his goals and those 18 Premier League points will never be forgotten in their battle against relegation last season. Thats 18 out of 41 total points he’s won them. Thats nearly half! You can see why Paul Lambert is loathe to lose him as to the value he has in the team.

A certain criticism that appears when speaking about Christian is about his finishing ability. Now while he hasn’t scored some of the screamers Bale has, he is MORE than a capable finisher boasting a healthy chance conversion rate of 18.3% and an on target conversion rate of 40.3% meaning he doesn’t waste many chances when they come his way. [Benteke takes an average of 3.1 shots per league game and took a total of 104 over the course of the Premier League season (ftbpro.com).] He will most likely put them on target if he doesn’t score which would help another Tottenham player in Dempsey who is quick to finish a rebound. Now while these previous stats don’t tell the full story on his finishing ability, (for example his heading ability is quite outstanding) at the ripe age of 22 he is FAR from his prime which I can see him dominating in 3-4 years time.

However his goals aren’t the only reason Benteke is so valuable to a Premier League team. Its his overall play. His strength and power on the ball and off of it that strikes fear into opposing team’s defenses as well as his aerial prowess in the box. He has won almost 8 aerial duels per game. To put that in perspective, he is second to only Andy Carroll in that department. So far, he is unmatched in the air and on the ground physically. Don’t get me wrong though, he isn’t your average Andy Carroll battering ram type of player either! He’s as much of a creator as well as a finisher! Another cold hard fact courtesy of yours truly: Benteke has been averaging 1.61 key passses a game and has 4 assists in the premier league as well as another 3 assists in the League Cup. He has provided 53 key passes in 34 league matches and if you increase the level of talent around him, you can bet anything his shallow total of 4 assists will skyrocket especially with a superstar like Bale to finish off these chances. This can only bode well as he grows with time to become one of the world’s best.

What is also impressive about him is his game when he has back to goal. He does a great job taking down long balls and either flicking them on, or laying them off which is important when you have wingers like Lennon and Bale to take advantage of them. This was my biggest criticism of Jermain Defoe’s game and why I think he does not have the size or skill to lead the line for Spurs no matter how many games he starts. And while we are speaking of Tottenham strikers, my biggest criticism of Adebayor was his work rate and it is easily apparent how much Christian works for his team. He is a true work horse and defends as well as attacks as shown by his 15 tackles and 28 clearances up to April (According to Bleacher Report. I couldn’t find any other statistics since April). He seems to be everywhere on the pitch at times and his size is great for defending set pieces. With him on our squad, we could have the most powerful line-up in the premier league with players like Bale, Paulinho, Dembele, Sandro, Vertonghen, Dawson, Walker, Kaboul, and the list goes on.

However for every good thing to say, there is a bad. For example his outstanding involvement and work-rate comes at hefty price: it takes away the poaching and deadly in the box title some strikers love to have and fans like to see. Most of his goals come from build up play and while that is a good thing, its also a bad thing as it shows his positioning leaves a little to be desired. According to @EPLStatMan, Christian Benteke has been caught offside more than any other player this year with him being caught offsides a total 50 times. This shows a little lack of awareness and ultimately shows how much more he has to grow to be considered a ‘world class forward.’ Also, he can improve his ball retention skills as he only completed 64.8 percent of his passses (averaging 33.6 successful passes per game according to bsports.com) and was dispossessed 2.4 times per game on average and 83 times in total (ftbpro.com). Again though and I know I have repeated this many times over the course of this article but Benteke is still growing and can only get better in those departments.

So long story short, I definitely think Christian Benteke is worth every penny and we better get him now before he gets bought buy some oil rich club and becomes world class and becomes the World Cup’s star of the show. Now the price is the only issue and I think that 25 million is steep only because of the target it puts on his back to perform. Fernando Torres of Chelsea has shown that the bigger the target on your back the harder it is to perform (he has a 50 million dollar target btw).

Ultimately I think Levy should negotiate a price with a future sell on clause in it so Villa will see it more as a win-win situation. But i’ll leave him up to that. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed. By the way, in this article, I PURPOSELY didn’t address the fact that he requested a transfer. Loyalty is dying in football and if you’re trying to buy loyalty AND get a good price then good luck. Anyways thats all from me. Let me know what you guys think! Leave me some comments!

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Its totally irrevelant whether Benteke is worth it or not, he has 3 years remaining on his contract, Villa have said they don't want him to leave, so the price to buy him is based on what Villa see as compensation for a player they took a gamble on last season, who signed a 4 year contract on £20/25K a week, less than a year later his head has been turned by the smell and lure of big bucks, thats fine if thats the way he wants to put himself across, but the Value to villa is at least £25 million, They have every right to name their price, if someone does'nt want to pay it then he stays at Villa which is what they wanted in the first place, Now Benteke has the choice, obviously he has been ill advised because i have not seen any bids or a multitude of sides wanting to bid to take him off villa's hands, his choice now is stay with Villa another year and be loyal and try his hardest for the club who gave him the premier league chance or sulk and spend the next 3 years training with the kids, on his wages in todays standards is moderately low so its no huge cost to Villa to let him sit and stew for 3 years.
    I do have a belief that Benteke's agent is the one at fault with this saga and i do feel sorry for Benteke, he has been led along with the promise of loads of money and all these wonderful clubs after him, when in fact there are no clubs after him, it is all media led, at not time has any Manager from any club said they want him or are going to make a bid for him.
    I sincerely hope Spurs get a player of the standard they require, they are a great club trying to break into the top 4, no easy task.
    Ignore all this media hype until you hear from the horses mouth, its just the media telling lies to make a fast buck off all us loyal football fans.
    Up the Villa, and good luck to Spurs next season

  2. Levy will not be able to negotiate nowt mate its not 25€ either its ££££

    So show us the money or wind your necks in cause villa hold all the cards

  3. Surely if Benteke wants to go to a ‘big’ club, that rules out spurs?? Especially as the o ly mention of moving to spurs has been solely conjured up by the media with no confirmation rom either club, player or agent.

  4. I am not sure how 19 league goals in ONE season takes your transfer value from £7m to £25m, realistically. However, Benteke IS Villas player, and as a result, Villa are well within their rights to value him at whatever price they want.

    At 22/23 years-old, there is NO questioning that the Belgian has plenty of scope for further improvement/development. And nowadays clubs are asked to invest as much in a players potential, as they are in a players actual, current level of ability.
    C.Ronaldo is a a perfect case in point. When Man Utd spent upwards of £18m on the Portuguese winger, they were buying what was clearly a talented player, but also spending big bucks on a footballer who still had plenty to learn.

    I have watched Benteke closely over the course of last season, and it is clear to me that he is a player with ENORMOUS potential. Pace, power and a considerable amount of finesse, Christian has ALL the tools to become one of the very best strikers around, should he continue to dedicate himself to improving his game.
    The biggest challenge for Benteke next season, for me, will be a MENTAL, not a PHYSICAL, one. Because after an extremely impressive debut season in the EPL, it will be interesting to see just how the Belgian deals with a much greater level of EXPECTATION,and the pressure that comes with it (especially if he secures his 'dream' move to Spurs).

    The problem that now confronts Christian going into the new season is: Everyone THINKS they know what to expect, from him. Managers, fans, media, opposing players and his own teammates will all go into the new campaign EXPECTING Benteke to equal, if not better, last years performances…especially if he secures a BIG MONEY move to Tottenham!

    It will also be interesting to see how Christian manges the expectations he has of himself (again, ESPECIALLY if he does move clubs this summer).

    You see, nobody would of really battered an eyelash if Benteke' goals had dried up last season. It would have been almost understandable, given the the fact that he was playing in a team that was rooted at the bottom end of the table for the majority of the season. The player, himself, MUST of also been ,relatively, free from any sort of REAL pressure, having earmarked himself as Villas STAR-MAN throughout the course of the last campaign, and as a result, MUST of felt comfortable with the idea, that even if AV had been relegated, there would of been PLENTY of top-flight sides interested in securing his services, anyway.

    It will be interesting to see what happens, if once he secures his move, he misses a few chances and/or his goals dry up. That will be when we get a clearer indication of Bentekes TRUE potential. When the chips (confidence) are(/is) down and the pressure is on, it will be how Christian reacts to that kind of adversity that will determine how good a player he actually is/becomes.

    Going back to the price tag, though, I DO think the players actual value SHOULD (realistically) be closer to the £15m mark, but with that being said, how many young strikers, out there, have the kind of potential that Benteke has?

    Physically, he has EVERYTHING to go on an become a world force in the game, but it will be how he copes MENTALLY with the growing expectation, that will undoubtedly surround him from this point onwards, that will determine if he ever fulfils his ENORMOUS potential

  5. Spot on. He is RAW but we need a man with physical presense who will frighted opposition defenders. When Drogba first arrived from marseille he looked cumbersome and rather overpriced. A few seasons he had developed into one of the best strikers to ever play in this country. Every transfer is a gamble but unless our scouts can find an unknown gem in the way Villa acted in aquirering this guy fron Genk he is our best option.

    Maybe enquire if City are willing to let that Guidetti kid go or try an pick up Gomis on the cheap fron Lyon to make up the numbers.
    Let Ade rot in the reserves if he is unwilling to move, he has great skill as he showed in the last few games of the season. His conduct was disgraceful, he cost us many many points last season. The man is rowing in the opposite direction.

  6. Jesus mark thats genuinely the best and most true post I have ever read!!!. too right mate on every point!!!. good luck next season.

  7. Spot on. He is RAW but we need a man with physical presense who will frighted opposition defenders. When Drogba first arrived from marseille he looked cumbersome and rather overpriced. A few seasons he had developed into one of the best strikers to ever play in this country. Every transfer is a gamble but unless our scouts can find an unknown gem in the way Villa acted in aquirering this guy fron Genk he is our best option.

  8. For all his worth on the pitch, Benteke is a true mercenary. He has either threatened to go on strike twice in the last year (at two different clubs) and several other of Eris Kismet's players did the same… but more on the agent later. If spurs buy Benteke they will possess one of the most lethal forwards in the league. His positioning play and temperament may leave a lot to be desired but he is (possibly literally) worth his weight in gold.

    Now back to the agent, this guy is trouble, lads. Apparently he offered Benteke to Spurs for 17m stg after the season ended and this has infuriated the Villa board. They deserve to name their price, as this article points out, because he is under contract for the next three years. And at 20k stg per week Villa can very much afford to let him play it out in the reserves. When you consider that Bent was on 100k p/w and Villa's star striker yet was still parked on the bench for a season, underestimating Lambert's / Villa's wrath is playing with fire.

    As a Villa fan, I thank CB for his work last year, he kept us up and could have gone on to be the Villa legend of our lifetime, surpassing Paul McGrath and Olof Mellberg i.m.o., but had his head turned by his agent, London, CL or whatever. Nothing wrong with that, all things considered. But just don't pin your hopes on him. He is an Arsenal fan and has Satan' Spawn in his ear. He will work wonders while he is there but don't go naming any stands after him.

  9. No, not for me! We dont need another player with the attitude of the Modrics and the Berbatovs! Let him sulk on the bench at Villa!

  10. Can't really see how Spurs are a big club anyway. Maybe just another bunch of supporters who think that they are. Benteke is a liability, his attitude is poor. His positional play (offsides etc.) are very poor and if you look at his goals alot of them were set up for him by Weimann. If some daft chairman wants to offer £25 million then Aston Villa should be laughing all the way to the bank and to be honest it reminds me of the whole Andy Carroll to Liverpool scenario. One man, one season and the next year everyone knows how to play him. My suggestion is to wind Benteke up then the elbows, headbutts and hands around the throat will come out. Be very careful what you wish for.

  11. Grab him Daniel, now! He may not be cheap but is better than both Ade and Defoe imo. Make a bid of 20m and be willing to come back with 3 or 4m more. He has a year in the premier league under his belt. Buy someone from elsewhere and it may take time to settle. If he has any improvement in him at all the price will seem cheap within a year or two. Don't let this striker search drift into August. He could be wearing a jersey for another London club by them. Cop yourself on Daniel or be prepared to enjoy Europa league for another couple of seasons.

  12. We were trying to buy David Villa for 8£ and the two young Croatians for 17£. If these amounts are correct, we have 25£ for transfers and Daniel Levy should stop trying to get bargains and pay Villa what they want.

  13. Thank you for the awesome comments mark and Ramos43- those were two views I never looked at while writing this article. And I do see a new Drogba in the making but praxis is right that he does seem like a mercenary which takes away the Drogba comparison a little bit. As far as Spurs being a big club, I think that they are still on the rise of being a big club! Maybe not now as you guys mentioned but once they build that stadium and make it to the champions league they will be I believe

  14. I think for this 20-25 mill we would be better off signing Kevin Gameiro and lisandro Lopez. Two good and talented striker who have way more experience than Benteke and both want to leave their current clubs (if u can believe those reports)

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