Before anyone labels me insane, allow me to state that Christian Benteke is my favourite player on Aston Villa right now. I even own a lime green "Benteke 20" kit. Well, besides Jack Grealish but he doesn't play enough to count. In any case, Villa could benefit from selling the Belgian hitman, but only under the right circumstances.
One of the main issues I have seen in the Villa's play this year is that they are too focused on getting the ball to Benteke. It's clear that he is the focal point, even if it's justifiable that he should be. Not dissimilar to the "Zlatan Effect" that the Swedish national side feel, it puts too much pressure on the other players in the team. When Ibrahimović plays, they are always focused on getting the ball to Zlatan, and trying to live up to Zlatan's unrealistic expectations. Again, it may be rightly so, since he is a god. Without him, they are allowed to play more of their own game, and a more team oriented style. Not just in size, but in playing ability, Benteke towers head and shoulders above everyone else in the squad. Without him, there would be more parity, and possibly a better quality of football played.
First and foremost, the offer would have to be reasonable. At this point in time, Villa aren't going to get £35 million for Benteke. That's okay. If an offer greater than £20 million came in, that would probably be alright, but I was thinking something more like £25 million would be something Villa could really work with.
Second, Villa would have to do more business than just getting rid of the big Belgian. At least two attackers would have to be brought in, and that is because either Andi Weimann or Gabby Agbonlahor (or both) would also have to go. Libor Kozák isn't fit yet, but we have seen that he can score goals. They haven't been spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but he has shown that he can put the ball in the back of the net. Also, I'd like to see Callum Robinson get a chance.
The money brought in from the sale of Benteke would need to be used in full to strengthen the squad. Also, if he was sold, obviously a lot of fans would be upset, because "the club will have lost it's ambition". They would have to deal with it, mostly because simply it would not be true.
It only makes sense to ship him out if you are going to have a full scale fire sale. Therefore, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar would also need to leave. If £40 million (25 from Benteke, 10 from Delph, 5 from Vlaar) was raised from the sales of the three of them, the better part of a whole new squad could be purchased. Last season, Atlético Madrid won La Liga and reached the Champions League final with a squad that cost less than €80 million (~£63 million) to assemble.
However, Villa wouldn't need to buy an entire new squad. Young players like Jores Okore look to be holding down spots quite well, and Ashley Westwood and Carlos Sánchez are legitimate building blocks. The biggest question for me would be: can Villa survive this season despite having a clearance sale midway through the campaign?
If somehow Charles N'Zogbia could be sold too, that would open up a spot in the squad as well. It would free up some wages too, if nothing else, because I highly doubt anyone would pay actual money for him at this point (see Darren Bent) in his career.
Lastly, Benteke cannot be sold to Tottenham Hotspur. There has been a bit of speculation that Manchester City are interested in Benteke, and while I'd prefer him to be sold abroad, it would most likely be most profitable if he were sold to another English club. While Benteke at Spurs would make them a useful side, therein lies the reason that I don't want to see him playing at White Hart Lane. He deserves Champions League football and a big wage packet, and City could offer more than Spurs. That being said, with Benteke, Spurs would be legitimate candidates for fourth in this year's Premier League and probably the future. So unless Daniel Levy is the highest bidder (ha!), don't ship him down to north London.
What do you think? Am I clinically insane? Let us know in the comments!
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