With Benteke being linked with a move elsewhere, should Sherwood be looking at Queens Park Rangers goal-getter?
According to reports from the Birmingham Mail, Micah Richards has announced that he believes his new club, Aston Villa, should target Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin, should Christian Benteke leave the Midlands outfit this summer.
With Liverpool said to be keen on securing the signature of the Belgian international, as reported by talkSPORT, Villa manager Tim Sherwood will need to have a replacement lined up in case his £32.5million buyout clause is met. It is no secret that he is an admirer of Austin, who is valued by his current club at £15 million - according to the Daily Mail.
HITC Sport have analysed the statistics, and these prove that Richards is talking sense. Austin, who has also been linked with Newcastle United and West Ham United - as per the Daily Mail - is more than able to match Benteke's goal scoring rate, despite proving inferior in a number of alternative key areas.
Austin pipped Benteke to the post in terms of his scoring, although only marginally. With 18 goals in 35 appearances (0.51 per game) to the Belgian's 13 successful strikes in 29 appearances (0.45 per game) the Englishman emerged superior. He also recorded more assists (5) then the Aston Villa striker (2).
However, it is the physical aspects of his game where Benteke cannot be matched. Indeed, the Belgian international wins significantly more aerial duels than Austin per appearance, while he also records more successful attempts when it comes to beating an opponent in a take on.
Furthermore, Benteke completed an average of 22 successful passes per game in the Premier League last season compared to 38 managed by Austin. The Villa striker also emerged marginally superior for pass completion, with 67% to 66% from the Englishman.
Despite lacking the presence of Benteke - in truth very few can match the Belgian - Austin has an impressive knack of finding the back of the net. If Villa are to lose their key front-man this summer, the Englishman would be an ideal replacement - the Midlands club certainly wouldn't miss Benteke's goals.