Aston Villa’s late season resurgence is likely ensure they will remain in the Premier League as well as giving them a season-ender at Wembley for the FA Cup Final. Much of the plaudits for this Midlands renaissance have been heaped at the feet of their new manager Tim Sherwood; but his centre forward, Christian Benteke, has proved to be the catalyst for their improved run of form.
With the Belgian now enjoying his most consistent run of form since his debut season in England, clubs are again rumoured to be looking at the Villa man, but is he good enough to make the step up to the elite level?
His first season at Villa Park was one of the better debut campaigns for a striker in a number of years. In a struggling side he managed to plunder 19 league goals, at a ratio of better than one in two. His unerring speed and eye for goal made him one of the hottest properties in English football and despite the club’s protestations, Benteke put in a transfer request and seemed destined to leave the Midlands for a multi-million pound fee.
However, the striker retracted his request and stayed at the club, and since that transfer fiasco the 24 year old has struggled to regain the kind of blistering form he found at the start of his Villa career. This was until the emergence of Mr. Sherwood, the striker has been revitalised under his new boss and has managed to notch six goals in his last four games, including a winner at Tottenham, a hat-trick against QPR and the equaliser at Wembley against Liverpool.
In a season of immense struggles for the club he has still managed to hit double figures, and in doing so has scored nearly 50% of his team’s goals. His recent form has earned them enough valuable points to mean glances over claret and blue shoulders are becoming less and less frequent.
His recent form has again stoked the fire of speculation and it seems as if Liverpool are keen on adding the Belgian to their ranks. Brendan Rodgers’ team has struggled to find the net this term and a natural goalscorer is top of his wish list. Benteke has consistently managed to find the net – he has nearly 40 in less than 85 games for the Villains – and this record becomes even more impressive when you consider he has been in a poorer team and had a serious knee injury.
Quality, high level strikers are at a genuine premium in football and ones that have proven themselves in the English top flight are at an ever greater one. Christian Benteke crosses all the boxes that any team needs from their head of attack and has the potential to be one of the division’s top players.
The Villa striker has proven his worth at a struggling side but now he must surely be looking over the other side of the fence and see the glory that could await him. His performances at Villa Park have earned him a move to one of the country’s genuine title contenders and he may prove to be a shrewd bit of business to anyone that can acquire him.