Has He Bentekin' Us All For Fools?
With all the buzz about the new lads coming in I thought it would be apt to reflect about the recent comedy movie There`s Something About Benteke, starring Christian Benteke, Paul Lambert, Arsenal, Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Sky Sports News, several newspapers, Eric Kismet and Cameron Diaz.
It`s fair to say Benteke has been an absolute revelation since his arrival, giving every Villa fan hope that we might finally have a striker that will manage to score 20+ goals for us in a league season. Now, nearly one year later, it seems that he`s fulfilled his dream of being a success in the Premier League and establishing himself as a top striker. But has he? Is he really the saviour that we need, and want? Should we sell him if he wants to go or get as many goals out of him as possible til it`s impossible to hold onto him? A critical factor in this question may or may not lie in the next paragraph...
When he arrived, Benteke never once mentioned how much he wants to play for Aston Villa. This statement is for those who believe he owes us some kind of loyalty for the faith we`ve shown in him, bringing him to the Premier League, taking to him the way we have because of his awesomeness, blah blah. An old article from the Birmingham Mail dated 31 August 2012 states that CB was "looking forward to getting my career started in the Premier League." He also went on to say that Villa Park was a great stadium and that we are "an historic club". However, the bulk of his comments emphasised the fact that so many of his Belgian compatriots were playing in the Premier League and that he wanted to join them. He never lied to anyone, he never made any secret of his desire to play in the Premier League and he never paid tribute to the club any more than acknowledging the history and the stadium. Fair enough, surely?
Fast forward to the present day and after a fantastic season, comments from his agent, the press, Sky Sports News and anyone else with a pen say that Benteke "might not necessarily accept it" if he was told to stay. Now, short of dressing up as a sheikh and going undercover at Chez Benteke to get it from the horse`s mouth, we probably won`t find out exactly what was said. However, there`s surely no smoke without fire. Compare Benteke`s comments with those of our new arrivals, who all say they are excited to get started with Aston Villa and believe in the manager`s vision. Refreshing comments that, as fans, we will never get tired of reading or hearing about. Who would you rather keep?
This is a tough argument to balance. On one hand, there is the belief that Benteke should stay with us, help us push on with the revolution and see if we can actually win something in the next few years. On the other, he`s proved that he can score goals in the Premier League and might be entitled to peddle his wares at a more prestigious club. Where though? Tottenham, who have been underachieving for several years now despite their squad and money? Arsenal, who are much improved but still wide of the mark? Dortmund or Atletico Madrid, who don`t play in the Premier League? In my opinion, the only clubs he could realistically go to are Manchester United/City or Chelsea, and there`s no guarantee that he`d walk into their teams the way he did with ours.
Lambert is trying to develop a mentality devoid of believing you`re a rock star after one good season, of hard work, team effort and unity for Aston Villa as opposed to proving you can cut it in the Premier League. Sadly, every man has his price in the footballing world. As a 21-year old foreigner, could you honestly turn down the chance to play/warm a bench for £80,000+ a week if it was offered to you? Could you turn that down now? And could you blame another man for doing that?
Hopefully we will discover the outcome of this poorly-woven tapestry sooner rather than later. The best case scenario we can hope for is that he`s happy with the renewed contract offer and guarantee of regular football next season. He did say a while ago that he has happy playing for us and scoring goals. If it ain`t broke, and all that. Personally I believe he should stay, earn the doubled wages he will no doubt be offered and see what happens. After all, one swallow doesn`t make a summer. However, if he`s dead set on moving on, we should, and surely would, get the best price we can. There will be plenty more Christian Bentekes out there but you never know where your next £25m is coming from.
I just feel sorry for all the dads out there that might have to tell their children that Ben 10 has gone to another club!