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Transfer Truth: The Truth on Benteke to Tottenham

Posted on Jul 4th, 2013 by Matt Styrka

As Tottenham's search for striking reinforcements continue another potential Defoe replacement has entered the fray. This time it's Aston Villa's saviour Christian Benteke, but is the Belgian powerhouse really on his way to Spurs?

Benteke: Transfer Truth: 30%
After an extensive search for anything at all that could give some credibility to this link we came up with very little. There is nothing recent that suggests Villa are willing to part with their man, or that Andre Villas-Boas is chasing the player, but with Tottenham's pursuit of David Villa and the chase for the excellent Mario Gomez having piped down recently, the stories of a move for Benteke have emerged to fill the hole.

All suggestions that Tottenham or indeed anyone else might be in with a chance based on some perception that Benteke is refusing to sign a new contract are contrived at best, and downright fictitious at worst. They have been largely reported by the mega tabloids with no direct quotes from any named source.

It's worth noting that the 22 year old Belgian signed for Villa on a 4 year contract only last year and with 3 years still remaining it's hardly a massive dispute that he won't sign another agreement just a year after initially joining the club. Whilst Villa might be keen to tie up his services long term now that he has proven himself at Premier League level we do believe far too much is being made of the fact that he has 3 years remaining on his existing deal.

Given his age and goal scoring ability the fee Villa might demand for him if he were to go this summer is likely to be in the £25m range which would present a healthy profit on the £7m they paid for him last season but with Darren Bent outcast at the club and likely on his way out it's almost impossible to see that Villa, who just about beat the drop last season, would even entertain the prospect of selling him unless they had at least two new strikers lined up who were going to cost them less than £25m put together. If anything Paul Lambert will be looking to bolster his attacking options rather than off load the single asset that save Villa's skins last season.

The Old Outburst
The main basis of any link are based on a rather foolish and self defecating comment made by Benteke at the very end of last season when The Express reported this quote from him:

If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I am convinced that we can reach a compromise where everybody comes out a winner,’ said Benteke. If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won’t necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel like I didn’t get the most out of my career. I hope that if I leave my club a deal can be done quickly – there is no point in getting into a tug-of-war with Villa.

So the man who made himself a hero at Villa Park over half a season decided to end that season by promptly vilifying himself to those same fans. Even though this comment was made around 6 weeks ago and is likely the words of a egotistical young man who has not received the proper media training he clearly needs, it does cast some noteworthy doubt over how committed he is to Villa. Though of course if that club is Tottenham he might wish he'd used a different example of a big club than Arsenal.

You could certainly say that Benteke sees Villa as little more than a stepping stone which would mean that all hell would break loose if an offer came in from a big club, and that with this in mind Villa might actually be better off cashing in on him whilst his star is at such a high level and he still has those 2 years left on his contract.

Sell Now or Lose-Lose
In Paul Lambert's position we might be thinking that if Benteke stays for another season, there is a good chance he may not be able to replicate the same form he had last season, in which case interest in him and his transfer fee would drop significantly.

If however he does continue to improve, the player is even more likely to see himself at a big club, but Villa will not be able to command any higher fee for him as at that stage he will have just 2 years remaining on his contract which would mean Villa may not be able to command anywhere near the £25m they might get for him today. So in effect if you really believe that Benteke's comments at the end of May are revealing of his true intentions, Villa would end up in a lose-lose situation of they hang on to him, and might actually be better off selling in this window.

Our Truth-o-meter
We were quite ready to dismiss this rumour as nonsense until we came across the comments Benteke made in May, which do raise serious concerns about his commitment to Villa. If you believe the comments he made reveal his true intentions, all it would take to seriously unsettle him is an offer from any of the top 6 clubs and in that situation Lambert's best option may well be be to sell, so we have decided to give this one a truth rating of 30% because we can't shake those comments out of our heads.

We also accept that Tottenham absolutely must bring in at least one top class striker this summer but could find absolutely nothing to suggest that they are looking at Benteke, all the reports we found were unsubstantiated speculation from tabloids making any connection they can to bring us entertainment instead of fact so we are giving the chances of a move to Tottenham in specific only a 15% probability at the moment.

Likeliness of Signing: 15%
Fit at Club: 80%

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