A hat-trick from Christian Benteke heaved Aston Villa from the soup against QPR in midweek and today Villans fans will have woke to discover their hero being eyed up by super powers on the continent.
The clubs in question are calcio kings Milan and Champions League-bound Bundesliga big wigs Wolfsburg.
Despite the interest, the bookies in black and gold at bwin.com don’t see the Belgian bulldozer moving abroad this summer, rating the eventuality that he’s getting paid by any non-English outfit by September 2nd at 3/1.
They don’t see him staying at Villa either, with the 6/4 about him remaining with the same employers by the passing of the aforementioned date second favourite behind the 6/5 saying he’ll be plying his trade elsewhere in England.
But despite the odds suggesting a Premier League club will pry the Belgium international out of his claret and blue shell, whoever makes the move is sure to regret it.
Both Liverpool and Tottenham have been linked with big money transfers for the former Genk ace, but the travails of one lower-echelon superstar to make the transition to a domestic heavy hitter should deter the pair.
Wilfried Bony cost Manchester City a princely £28m to buy from Swansea in January and it’s fair to say he’s still to justify the price tag.
The Ivorian has plenty of mitigation behind his slow start at the Etihad, but the fact remains that he has scored just once in sky blue, after bagging 34 in 70 in his south Wales safe haven.
Given the increased quality of his teammates furnishing him with chances and the dominance Man City enjoy in games, he should’ve done better.
Benteke has 44 in 93 English football outings and would, therefore, cost north of the £20m threshold as his Citizens counterpart did.
Spending a weighty chunk of the transfer budget on such a player represents an enormous risk, one both clubs have succumbed to in the past.
Extracted from his small pond, there would be no guarantee the 24-year-old would be as effective under the pressure of delivering on a weekly basis.
Bony, of course, could score plenty of goals next season to make a mockery of this thesis, but he isn’t the only striker to struggle in the upper reaches of the top-flight to have shone out of the limelight.
Liverpool have experienced the same frustrations with Rickie Lambert this season, while Darren Bent infamously flopped at Spurs after a couple of prolfic mid-00’s campaigns with Charlton.
Benteke’s international exploits, where the standard is higher to that in which he operates at Villa, suggest he’ll follow in their footsteps, with just seven goals bagged in 21 caps.
A ratio of one strike in three is acceptable, but the Netherlands are the only adversary of similar stature he has scored against and more than half of his strikes have come in non-competitive games.
The warning signs are there folks; leave Benteke to his continental suitors.