Manchester United have become the latest side to be linked with Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke after manager David Moyes personally watched him in action for Belgium against Scotland. However, the battering ram hitman would surely be insane to join United when the transfer window reopens in January.
Benteke plundered a 28-goal haul in 50 games across all competitions in 2012/13 and has shown no sign of being cowed by pressure to repeat the trick this term.
With the season still in its genesis he has registered four strikes in as many games for Villa and now finds himself as short as 11/1 fourth favourite for Premier League top goalscorer honours.
This is a prolonged spell of form worthy of a player destined for the higher echelons of the game, but making that move in January and especially to the Red Devils would be detrimental to the player’s more immediate career aspirations.
At the tender age of 22, Benteke’s professional development has been unhindered by prolonged periods of bench-warming.
He’s already featured in 177 club matches and his white-hot Villa form last term came from a campaign in which he played some part in all but seven of their 46 competitive matches.
At United – where The Mirror suggest his physical prowess mean he’s viewed as a potential Wayne Rooney replacement – he’ll have to displace Robin van Persie in order to take up his preferred line-leading position.
While Rooney has long operated as a deeper-lying attacker, Benteke has made his name at Villa as the most advanced striker and having to play behind incumbent centre-forward Van Persie would be unlikely to utilise his strengths to the full.
If moving to United in January he would likely have to do so, or face a substantial downturn in his on-pitch minutes, either of which would damage his chances of starting for his increasingly-feared nation at the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Belgium are in pole position to qualify from Europe’s Group A for the 2014 tournament and bwin make them 12/1 fifth-favourites to lift the trophy.
Countryman Romelu Lukaku’s loan move to Everton will ensure he has the requisite playing time to potentially outshine Benteke if he was to move into a Van Persie-apprentice role at United and staying at a Villa side increasingly geared towards providing him with goals is the wise move, both for his continuing refinement as a footballer and his World Cup aspirations.