Aston Villa can try a simple trick to keep hold of star striker Christian Benteke this summer.
That simple trick is to make it as difficult as possible for any other side to come in and buy him, because he is without doubt, one of the most important players for the immediate future of the football club.
He’s had a big impact at the club in his first season at Villa Park, which has seen him produce a solid of 15 goals in 29 matches which is the sort of strike rate that other Premier League strikers would kill for.
The problem that has created for Villa is apparent interest from ‘bigger’ sides that all need an extra body in their attack. The obvious appeal of a bigger side for the Belgian forward is that they can offer him things which Aston Villa can’t.
However, Paul Lambert’s club hold all of the aces when it comes to Benteke’s future and they could simply over price him to ensure that it becomes difficult for another side to come in and take him away.
Lambert has already revealed that he thinks the 22-year-old is worth more than £25 million, which is a figure that not many other teams may be willing to pay for a striker who is yet to complete his first full season in English football.
Some logical thinking will conclude that if two or three teams are in for him and £25 million is the base rate, that could quickly go the other side of the £30 million mark and the ‘bigger’ sides may well switch their attention elsewhere.
That’s fine as far as Villa are concerned because they retain one of their key players, which they can build their side around for the next couple of years to ensure they are not in a similar position ever again.
Even if they sold him for £25 million, that would be a superb price for a player of his quality and calibre and it would provide Lambert with ample funds to go out and find a replacement as well as another body in another area of the team.
However, that is worst case scenario because this is a player Lambert has said all along, he doesn’t want to let leave the club because he’s that important to what he’s trying to achieve.
Villa are looking more and more likely to get out of trouble as they have secured some positive results in recent weeks which have helped them to start climbing the Premier League table at the right time.
If they stay up then it’s not going to be easy for any side to sign Benteke but if they get dragged back into the bottom three, it could become very difficult for them not to sell him and they may even have to back off in terms of the price they ask for in that situation.
The simple tactic of over pricing a player is something that many other sides have done before and it’s something which other clubs will look at and probably be put off by, with other more experienced and more proven options available.
Is this the best way for Villa to hang onto Benteke?
image: © little-pete