Is Christian Benteke on the move? He certainly seems to think so even if his manager doesn’t and bwin are now betting on which club the Aston Villa striker will be playing for when the summer transfer window closes, with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool the favourites to land the Belgium international.
It’s the oldest trick in the book: a foreign player playing in the Premier League agitating for a move as soon as he goes on international duty and sure enough Benteke, who has enjoyed a brilliant debut campaign in England, scoring 19 goals during a difficult season for the Villa Park club, has been quoted as saying he wants to leave the Villans just ten months after signing from Genk for £7 million.
“If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won’t necessarily accept that,” Benteke said. “I do not in any way want to feel I didn’t get the most out of my career. I try to get everything.
“Of course playing the World Cup in Rio is in my head. But I have no fear of falling out of the team. There is no point in me getting into a tug-of-war with Villa. If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I’m convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner.”
These comments, which have been met by Benteke’s agent with the usual ‘mistranslation’ defence – have infuriated Villa boss Paul Lambert, who stated that the 22 year-old needs “a reality check”.
“I don’t really 100% know what’s happened but he’s got three years here at Aston Villa and the club have always come first,” said Lambert.
“He’s had one of those seasons where he’s never really been injured and he’s never been suspended except the last day.
“He’s got to remember that he’s only 22 years of age – he’s got so much to learn. He’s only a kid starting out and he’s going to have ups and downs like everybody else. Once he starts to play 400 or 500 games you might think, ‘yeah, he’s [a] right good player’.
“Sometimes we’ve got to have a reality check here. This lad’s only been in Britain for ten months. He’s got the status at Aston Villa and everybody loves him.”
In light of Lambert’s quotes, bwin go 1/2 that Benteke remains a Villa player until January at the earliest, but with interest sure to come from the teams at the top end of the table, it might be worth looking at the 5/1 that Arsenal or Tottenham sign the Villans’ number 20.
Andre Villas-Boas will be in the market for a striker having spent the last campaign relying on just Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor, while Arsenal, who Benteke himself mentioned, look like they might be about to spend significant money in the transfer market at last.
Liverpool are 7/1 to sign Benteke before September 1st, 2013, although much will depend on the future of Luis Suarez, while Borussia Dortmund, who could well lose star striker Robert Lewandowski this summer, are priced at 9/1.
Manchester City and Chelsea are 20/1 and 25/1 respectively, which are prices that may look big if their new managers take a fancy to Villa’s main man, while Manchester United, with rumours of the future of Wayne Rooney refusing to go away, are 33/1.
Big-spending French duo Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain are quoted at 28/1 and 40/1 respectively, while Bayern Munich, who are also throwing money about this summer, are 40/1 to secure Benteke’s signature.