The Belgian striker only arrived at Villa Park a year ago from Genk for around £7 million but his incredible tally of 27 goals for Villa this term has earned him a number of suitors in the Premier League.
Of those suitors, Arsenal and Tottenham are the most likely to secure his services this summer, should he leave Aston Villa. He has outlined previously that he initially believed Villa to be a London club and I would expect him to end up in the capital if he departs.
But which of the North London rivals would best suit the 22-year-old? He is a strong, powerful, and physically imposing striker with exceptional technical ability to go with it. At 6ft3” he presents both a classic English number 9 frame with the finishing quality of a continental forward.
He is the ideal player to lead the line of any Premier League team – he is a strong target man, holds the ball up well and performs well with his back to goal. That is not the traditional strengths associated with an Arsenal striker under Arsene Wenger’s reign.
However, this season, the Gunners’ only recognized centre-forward was Olivier Giroud who is more of a number 9 striker than his predecessors Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry.
However, on that note, the presence of Giroud in the squad already makes the signing of Benteke a lot less of a necessity – Wenger already has a very similar option in the Frenchman and he’ll likely prefer to bring in another wide-forward to rival Lukas Podolski or perhaps another number 10-type of player to take the creative burden off Santi Cazorla. Presently the Gunners are strongly linked with Stevan Jovetic who would tick all the boxes above.
If that deal goes through and, especially with the imminent signing of Yaya Sanogo, it’s hard to see Benteke getting regular starts at the Emirates next term.
A player of Benteke’s immense quality should not be sat on the bench – he’d be better of staying at Villa than going to Arsenal in that context. However, at Tottenham he could flourish and find himself enjoying the best of both worlds.
Spurs desperately need another striker – a quality striker in the prime years of his career. Currently Spurs are linked with David Villa but for a similar price, Benteke would be a better buy. Villa will be 32 this year and after suffering a leg break in 2012, he’s unlikely to be the top goal scorer he was in his youth for Valencia, Barcelona and Spain.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been disappointing at White Hart Lane this season and Jermaine Defoe isn’t getting any younger – his injury this term left Andre Villas-Boas with a real headache he could have done without.
Christian Benteke would be a fantastic addition for Tottenham and exactly the kind of young talent they should be buying – David Villa is the antithesis of that and could prove to be money wasted in the long-run.
If Benteke goes to Arsenal, he will be unlikely to match his Villa form this term – he’s simply not going to 34 Premier League appearances at the Emirates and certainly not 32 league starts.
As a player, he’s exactly what Spurs need – he has the finishing quality of Defoe, the physical presence of Adebayor and the form to render both of them irrelevant to Villas-Boas’ plans next term.
image: © little-pete