The Gunners undoubtedly need to boost their attacking arsenal by bringing in another out-and-out striker to rival Olivier Giroud who, at present, is their only recognized centre-forward.
Interest in 22-year-old Belgian Benteke will be fierce this summer after his incredible debut Premier League tally of 19 goals in 34 appearances for Villa and the club will feel lucky to hang on to him as a number of more affluent clubs come sniffing around their star man.
However, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed last week the club are ‘close’ to agreeing terms for the free transfer of Auxerre starlet Yaya Sanogo - which may just indicate he is not looking at Benteke who is only two years his senior.
Olivier Giroud is a traditional number 9 in terms of his physical presence, his finishing and his hold-up play and, despite Benteke’s immense quality, Wenger will be likely in the market for a different kind of option to add to his squad.
Sanogo is a very similar player to Benteke – he’s exactly the same height (6ft3”) and build, he’s got exceptional technical quality in terms of his skill level, he’s decent in the air and, at 20 years of age, he’s a more economical choice in the long-run, especially coming on a free transfer.
The one thing Benteke has over Sanogo is a season’s worth of Premier League experience – in fact, take that one step further, Benteke has experience, full stop. Sanogo is untested at the highest level – Auxerre are a second tier French side and, at international level, Sanogo has yet to be called up to the senior team.
Does Yaya Sanogo’s imminent signing rule out a move for Christian Benteke this summer? No, in a word but it does dramatically decrease the likelihood that the Gunners will make a genuine move to bring him to the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger has a strong track record of bringing in youngsters and developing them and, assuming Sanogo is to become his new protégé, he’s not going to block his path to the first-team by bringing in Christian Benteke – especially if he plans to bring in the likes of Stevan Jovetic to rival Giroud, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski for one centre-forward position.
image: © little-pete