Time for a reality check with regards to Christian Benteke

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke

They reckon he’s worth £30million. And by ‘they,’ I mean those chaps who pull random numbers out of thin air. 22-year-old Christian Benteke is worth £30million after one season in the Premier League. To Aston Villa he’s worth something in that area. He’s been their best player, a beast of a player in fact. 22 goals so far in a side who struggled for large parts of the season. I can see why there is so much hype and excitement surrounding him. But £30million? For the rest of us, I’d say give it at least another season.

But that’s the important part. I don’t want to see Benteke make the move to one of the bigger clubs in the league. And no, not primarily because I’d feel sorry for Aston Villa if they lost him, but rather because I want to see if he can do all of this again.

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Once again there is far too much unnecessary hype forced upon one of the younger players in the league. I get it, people get emotional and a bit excited when they see players who could hold a legitimate claim to being the next big thing, but isn’t part of that also a little damaging? Shouldn’t we as a whole be encouraging the player to stay on at Villa and continue his development? Why didn’t anyone else go in for him last summer – although I don’t want to take too much credit away from Villa? What if this season is just a flash in the pan? What if he fails to replicate this season at a bigger club because for now Villa is his level?

There might not be a great deal of belief in the last point; such has been the displays of Benteke this season that I’ve seen people suggest he could be better than Didier Drogba. By that thinking, that would make Benteke better than the former Chelsea player at this age, who was arguably late to blossom into the all-conquering powerhouse he became. Benteke could reach that stage, but I’m talking at least a couple of years into the future.

It also helps the Premier League as a whole if he remains with Villa. There’s plenty that’s been said about La Liga clubs failing to keep hold of their better players, either losing them to Real Madrid or Barcelona or to clubs abroad. But is there possible hints of that here too? Benteke arrives and genuinely stuns everyone by how good he is. Adding to that, he is the rightful winner of the Young Player of the Year award; I don’t really see how he wasn’t the obvious choice to win it. But then after one season he moves up and the ‘smaller’ club are forced to start again.

By staying at Villa it will allow the club to move on and remain in a relatively strong position. They can build on what they have now and continue to aid in the development of the player. For Benteke, he is unlikely to get that kind of treatment elsewhere. The pressure will be on him to perform and live up to the high expectations he set in his first year. Once again, we’re judging a player and assuming the very best of him based on one season in a top European league. No matter how good he’s been, there are no guarantees for success in the near future.

For the bigger teams pondering a move for the player, the best course of action will be to see if he can do it again next season, remaining firmly in his comfort zone and without the demands that come further up the league table. If he manages to avoid second season syndrome, it’s very possible we could be looking at a player whose value reaches the £30million mark.

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