Aston Villa Transfer Focus – Benteke future remains uncertain

Christian Benteke’s excellent first season in the Premier League with Aston Villa has led to the striker being linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe, in England and abroad.

Benteke’s recent comments to the press have suggested that his future in the West Midlands is hanging in the balance, neither confirming nor denying that he will be leaving this summer. Indeed he even said that he may force a transfer should such an opportunity arise, which would be a worry to all Villa supporters.

The Sun has recently reported that Benteke is being lined up by Atletico Madrid as a potential replacement for Radamel Falcao, who has just left to join Monaco for around £50m. If that move was to happen, Benteke would have a lot to live up to, but at the age of 22 he would surely be given time to impress.

There have been some outstanding performances by Benteke for Villa, with 19 Premier League goals to his name since joining from Genk last August, but with only one season at the highest level under his belt, Atletico or any other top club would be taking a bit of a gamble to sign him. Falcao’s boots would be very big boots to fill, and signing for a club challenging for major honours brings much expectation and pressure.

Villa manager Paul Lambert has been put in a difficult position with Benteke publically stating that the club could not prevent him from moving if he wanted to, and the Scotsman has been quick to warn Benteke, telling Talksport that the club comes first. The Belgian international still has three years to run on his current contract, but Villa may be forced to offer a more lucrative deal to retain his services.

Lambert would be quick to ensure that Benteke remains committed to the Villa cause, and must be eager for a speedy resolution to the situation as rumours about the striker’s possible departure continue to grow. His status as a fans’ favourite at Villa Park is also perhaps at risk due to his indecision over whether he wants to stay or go.

If Aston Villa were forced to sell Benteke before the start of next season, a replacement would be essential as without him the squad would be weaker. While Lambert often likes to sign young players from below the Premier League, the fee that they would receive for Benteke would be substantial so he may look to bring in somebody with a proven track record, or a player in a similar bracket to Benteke.

Of course, the club would be very unwilling to sell Benteke, as he has already proven his immense worth to Aston Villa. Next season he would be pivotal to Villa’s chances of improving on 2012/13’s 15th placed finish and their hopes of not being involved in a relegation fight, so keeping him is crucial. However, should the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur or Atletico come calling, unfortunately Villa may be powerless to resist.

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