So Benteke is off and Villa are going to be fighting against relegation again? Not necessarily.
Let's take a step back and look at this situation for what it really is and how it affects Villa.
Why would Benteke put a transfer request in?
It's not to guarantee a place in the Belgium side at the World Cup because he is already doing that at Villa and going to the likes of Chelsea won't give him more exposure as he won't play as much. I doubt it's money as after last season he could name his price and I imagine Lerner would pay it. Maybe it's playing in Europe he is after.
With the last point in mind we ask where should he go then?
I don't believe Chelsea would want him when they have Lukaku. Spurs are desperate for a player like Benteke, but they rarely play a strong side in the Europa League meaning Benteke wouldn't gain from going to Spurs, and whether they could meet Villa's asking price is questionable.
This leaves Arsenal. Real Madrid have said Arsenal haven't made a bid for Higuain so this could be his preferred choice bearing in mind he is quoted as saying he thought he is signing for them when he signed for Villa. But it may not be that simple.
So who will sign him? Probably nobody. Villa are in dispute with Arsenal over Dan Crowley. Chelsea have Lukaku and Spurs won't stump up the cash.
The most important thing to remember is that Villa hold the aces here. Benteke has said he is happy at Villa and Villa don't need the money.
For once Villa need to play hard ball. If clubs dont meet the valuation Benteke stays. Benteke won't strike like he did at Genk because he'll blow his World Cup chance and his chance of going to one of Europe's elite.
Lambert will have been eyeing replacements so if the valuation is met Villa may yet unearth another unpolished diamond and have money left over.
Do you agree? Will Benteke end up staying put?
image: © little-pete