The Belgian forward signed a new contract with Paul Lambert’s men, and now faces a big task in replicating last season’s achievements.
One name being banded around for a summer transfer was Christian Benteke – and rightly so. After a mightily impressive debut campaign in the Premier League for a struggling Aston Villa outfit, the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham were being linked with a move for the powerful attacker.
However, despite initially handing in a transfer request, Benteke had a change of heart and signed a new contract with the Birmingham-based side, spurning his chance of a move to a bigger club.
No longer an unknown quantity, Premier League defences will be ready to deal with Benteke’s threat when they face Villa this season. The striker has the task of replicating last season’s 19 Premier League goals – something he feels he is capable of doing.
“I feel good, I feel really good. I expect myself to do better than last season,” he told the club’s official website.
“As a striker, a lot of people are waiting for me. The fans are waiting for me. So the pressure is going to be bigger around me but this is football and I accept that.
“I can take that. I am young. I am confident. This is part of football. You have to be able to handle this pressure. This is the life I have chosen so I am happy to take this on. I love it.”
Although Benteke has scored five goals in pre-season and Villa should be a better side this season after their summer signings, the forward could regret not leaving for greener pastures when he had the chance.
Repeating the excellent feats of his first season in England will be very tough for Benteke, as there now is a massive expectancy surrounding him. He is certainly capable of having another barnstorming season, but in no way will it be easy.
Should Benteke’s performances and goal return drop due to an increased awareness of opponents, his stock has the potential to drop. The likes of Arsenal and Tottenham may be reluctant to return to the bidding table next summer if the Belgian only nets say 10 goals in 2013-14.
From Benteke’s perspective, his loyalty is admirable and he will continue to prove to be a very important player for Aston Villa – the club that gave him his break in English football. However, if he wants to earn a move to a team in the top six of the division, he will need to have another incredible season, which will be more difficult this time round.
image: © little-pete