It’s the perfect transfer – in Tottenham’s eyes. The club move on Jermain Defoe, who they’re looking to sell anyway, and receive Christian Benteke in return. How could you paint that in a negative light? For Aston Villa, however, it’s a different story.
I maintain that Benteke needs another season with Villa, not only to continue in his development – we are too quick to forget that he’s only 22 – but also to prove that he can maintain those high standards in the Premier League. The comparisons to Didier Drogba have already rushed in, with some using their clairvoyance to suggest he’ll be better than the former Chelsea striker. But until maybe this time next year, we won’t really know for sure what the realistic projection for Benteke is.
But for clubs like Tottenham, they simply can’t afford to wait. What if they choose to hold off on this signing until next summer, by which time Benteke’s value could drastically increase? Tottenham’s transfer history indicates that they’re comfortable with the potential gamble now, shelling out a reasonable sum of money (plus players) to take the striker early.
They need to be quick, too, with Atletico Madrid said to be considering Benteke as the replacement for Radamel Falcao. The Copa Del Rey winners aren’t quite loaded, but have been touted for a £25million move. Is that good business for Villa? Well not really. They could strengthen their squad, but will they find another player like Benteke for circa £7million?
And why would Villa want Defoe? Proven English goal scorer? Yeah sort of. But wouldn’t it just equate to another Darren Bent problem, only on a cheaper scale? At 30 years of age, Defoe doesn’t represent a long-term investment for Villa in their youth approach, nor does he guarantee the number of goals Benteke offered last season.
The point of the matter is that Villa are exactly where they wanted to be when they found themselves in a relegation battle. The goal for them now will be to build around Benteke, even if only for the short term, and then cash in next summer at the earliest. Maybe their scouts could have predicted how well the Belgian would be in England, but I don’t think the club had any plans to use him as a season-long bridge.
For Tottenham, and provided the player continues in this upward trajectory, they would be getting everything they need in a forward – or at least one of their two likely forward arrivals. Benteke isn’t a Hollywood signing, but he doesn’t need to be. Tottenham get a proven scorer in the Premier League who can play a technical and physical game, countering the differing opponents over the course of a Premier League campaign. If Benteke proves to be the real deal over the course of his career, Spurs will be as good as set in the striking department, with only a need to concentrate on backups or forward partners.
But it just seems too much of a stretch, and Aston Villa are not that stupid to offer Spurs such a huge upside in a transfer. A fantastic deal for Tottenham, but Villa would be forcing themselves onto the back foot before the season has even started.
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