For Aston Villa, losing captain Fabian Delph would arguably be more devastating than seeing Christian Benteke depart, but thanks the farcically low release clause inserted into his contract, according to the Daily Telegraph, this is an eventuality that could be realised.
For clubs in European competition (the only teams Delph would likely leave Villa to sign for) the fee required to discuss terms with the player is thought to be as low as £8m.
Amazingly, this is as much as they paid Leeds to sign the player in 2009.
After three unremarkable seasons (one of which saw him loaned back to Elland Road for a short spell) Delph finally started to realise his potential in 2013/14 and has contined to grow in stature since.
To emphasise his rapid rise and improvement, he is now an important member of the England set up, starting three of the Three Lions’ last four matches.
All of this considered, allowing him to leave the club for a sum that wouldn’t even see a profit turned could well spell doom for Aston Villa.
A replacement of similar quality couldn’t be sourced for such a price, while even if they miraculously happened to unearth one, convincing them to sign up for the turgid life of a Villan, scrapping to finish 17th every season, will make any transfer borderline impossible to complete.
Making a considerable investment in a youngster is the only way they could effectively hope fill Delph’s vacancy, though it took three years for him to come good; the club can’t afford to wait that long again given their position of perennial peril in the Premier League’s basement.
With this in mind, if seeing Benteke depart meant their skipper’s clause would be expunged, surely all Villa fans would gladly see the back of the Belgian behemoth.
A target for Liverpool, Benteke is a potent source of goals at times, with the 13 he got in 29 Premier League appearances accounting for almost half of the paltry 31 the Villans mustered last time around.
The total made him Villa’s chief goal getter by a margin of seven, but it would be far easier to replace than all-action midfielder Delph.
Injuries often hamper his form and subsequently lead to lengthy barren patches without a goal, while his attitude isn’t the best either; this summer is the second in his relatively short Villa career that the striker has made public his desire to leave the club.
Despite this, it’s fair to assume any serious bidder would need to fork out at least £25m to sign Benteke, a figure which, if invested appropriately, could easily fund the purchase of two strikers capable of scoring ten goals plus, while simultaneously ridding the club of an injury-prone top earner who is a potential source of dressing room unrest.
For those who fancy Villa to go down this term, take advantage of the 4/1 about them being relegated before any Delph deal is made, when the price is sure to shift downward.