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Tottenham Focus - Would Benteke be a good target for Spurs?

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By Alan Robins

Monday 18 February 2013

Apparently Tottenham and Arsenal are locked in a battle to sign current flavor of the month - Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. Arguably the clubs are approaching this struggle for his signature from different aspects.

Andre Villas-Boas with Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe

Arsenal have a variety of strikers or support strikers who can also play wide. The fact that Arsenal are linked with Benteke and a host of other strikers would suggest that their coach, Arsene Wenger does not feel he has replaced Robin van Persie. Does this also raise questions of his judgment? Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh, Theo Walcott and André Arshavin have not exactly been scoring heavily. By contrast, Spurs interest is generated from a dearth of strikers with only Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor as recognized forwards on their books with the latter struggling for form.

There is a logic linking Benteke to Spurs. The Belgian has been in fine form this season, scoring 44% of Aston Villa’s goals in the Premier League. Without him the Villains would be in more serious trouble than they currently are. Tall, strong and powerful with reasonable pace, Benteke has established himself as Villa’s main forward. Upon his arrival at Villa, Benteke was used from the bench but the absence of Darren Bent has seen him become the spearhead of their attack.

Would Spurs be right to pursue the Belgian? He is being linked because of his goals, yet is this alone enough to warrant interest? For such a tall and strong forward, arguably one of his weaknesses is leading the line. With Spurs often employing a 4-2-3-1 formation, this may be major detriment to the team. Benteke has been criticized for having a poor first touch and passing, only connecting with the desired man 65% of the time. When Villa played Benteke as a loan forward against Chelsea and then against Spurs, Benteke had a total of three shots and Villa shipped 12 goals. Villa may not be in the same class as the two London clubs, but Benteke made little impression.

Arguably Benteke is more like Defoe and Bent – he operates on the shoulder of the defenders and works the channels. As a consequence he can often be caught offside (38 times this season) and Spurs fans may ask if they want another striker who is prone to this. His other main strength is aerial; when the ball is played up to him in the air, he has invariably won the ball, flicking it on when away from goal. At Spurs the question may be who would this be to? Spurs under AVB can counter attack breathlessly but often tend to be more patient, keeping possession and probing for the pass to open the opposition up. However Benteke has turned the ball over/been dispossessed over 100 times in the League. Perhaps not quite what Spurs need for their game.

Benteke has come to attention for being a good player in a poor team. Would he really be a good fit for Spurs and worth the cost for a still relatively inexperienced player? Possibly not.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on West Ham v Tottenham

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