It’s been said several times already this season that Aston Villa keeping Christian Benteke is the signing of the summer. I think you’d struggle to find anyone who disagrees. Benteke has scored four goals in four games this season and it is not even September yet.
It was a strange old summer for Christian and Villa – strange but not unfamiliar for fans of the B6 club after similar scenarios involving Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, James Milner and Stuart Downing in recent years. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that under Paul Lambert we finally managed to keep our prized asset although it could be said the previous big name departures only left Villa under our terms, when we let them.
Thankfully, Lambert persuaded Christian to sign a contract extension at Villa. Despite an ill-advised transfer request, Benteke has started the season with aplomb. Two penalties converted against Arsenal (one via a rebound) were followed by a brilliant touch and finish versus Chelsea and a towering header versus Rotherham in the Capital One Cup.
Christian Benteke is the best player I have seen turn out for Aston Villa in years. His only clear weakness is his inexperience and the inconsistency that comes with it. He has that knack that all great players have of not needing to dominate a game to win it for his side. His power and pace can intimidate any defence; add to that his touch and control of the ball and it makes him almost unstoppable. The fact that he can do nothing all game then make a chance for himself speaks volumes for his quality.
Villa managing to keep Benteke is massive. He was outstanding last season, especially from January onwards. He’s scored more Premier League goals in 2013 than anyone else. No player was more influential for their team than Benteke was for Villa last season. However, it would be totally unfair to call Villa a one man team: the input of Gabby Agbonlahor, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood, Brad Guzan and Yacouba Sylla over the later stages of last season should never be overshadowed by Benteke.
I have to admit, most probably like many Villa fans, that I was worried Benteke may be a one season wonder but as soon as I saw Benteke in his first pre-season friendly against Luton those worries subsided.
This Villa team can take the game to any group of players and beat them. Would we be able to do that without Benteke? Probably, but it would be a hell of a lot more difficult. Benteke could the player who makes the difference between us finishing 10th this season and 7th or higher.
The exciting thing is, despite his brilliant goal-scoring start, I don’t think he’s in his best form yet. So Premier League defences, be afraid!
I hope we keep Christian Benteke for years and continue to build a fantastic young side around him. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see that being possible: big teams with big money will come in for him and, eventually, there will be a bid that Villa cannot turn down. The positive spin on that is we have a manager who is more than capable of then using the money we get to further improve the side. Look at Spurs, on the verge of losing their best player to Real Madrid. However, they’ve signed absolutely fantastic players and I think they now look like title contenders, with or without Bale.
So for the time being let’s enjoy having the Beast Of B6 leading our line, terrorising defences, scoring all sorts of goals and hopefully moving us forward.
I hate the fact we’re not playing this weekend and that there is then an international break. Just as the season starts is abruptly stops again! Roll on Christmas and 10+ games in 8 weeks.
Anyway, whatever happens over the next few days until the transfer window slams shut, we’ve already got the signing of the summer in our ranks.
Oohhhhhhhhhh, CHRISTIAN BENTEKE!
Thanks for reading.