If you haven’t heard already, there’s a pictures of Benteke and a fan on the Villa fan page on Facebook with a claim that Benteke doesn’t think he’ll be at Villa next season. Whilst we can’t be sure of its credibility, if we start to contemplate life without him, we might even be able to find comfort in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
We’ve wasted no time in addressing the problem areas of the squad so far this summer, and this looks set to continue with left back Antonio Luna close to joining. We may have even already addressed the issue of replacing Benteke, with the impending arrival of 6ft-5in striker Nicklas Helenius.
The signings we’ve made this summer show that once again, Lambert has his scouts at work all over Europe. There are strikers of real quality out there and we can find another one. Most Villa fans had no clue about Benteke before we signed him, and won’t know about a hell of a lot of other talented strikers out there. He’s the type of signing which makes me want to watch more football across Europe to know these players before we and other top tier clubs come in for them.
It might be too soon to say, but should we sell Benteke, we’re guaranteed decent funds to fund another top class striker. Whether we’ll take the Athletico Madrid approach (on a smaller scale) and replace a proven top class striker with another, irrespective of cost, remains to be seen. The sale of Torres aided their pursuit of Forlan who was bought for €21 million. The sale of Aguero to Manchester City funded the signing of Falcao for €40 million. If we were to take a similar approach, here are a few strikers which may just be in our price range.
Wilfried Bony – Vitesse Arnhem. The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international is similar to Benteke in terms of using his strength to his advantage, although he may not be as technically sound. He perhaps possesses a little more pace however, and his composure in front of goal is impressive, which is backed by his 31 league goals scored last season.
Alexander Esswein – 1. FC Nuremberg. At only 23 he’s another budding prospect from the German conveyor belt. He’s been at his current club for 2 years and could consider a move if the right club came along. He’s got a bit of pace and a good physique, with a ferocious shot to match. Goals haven’t come easily for the German however, as he’s only managed 6 in 53 appearances since 2011, although he’s not always deployed as an out and out striker. He may be the most affordable of my shortlist.
Alfred Finnbogason - SC Heerenveen. The Icelandic international has enjoyed a productive season in front of goal with 24 in 31 appearances. Again he’s 24 so would fit in with Lambert’s policy and is a bit of an all rounder. Again his composure is impressive, with his forté seemingly chipping the keeper.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Saint-Étienne. This may be a bit unrealistic with Spurs and Monaco reportedly ready to make moves this summer. He is reliant on his electric pace and is tall at 6-ft-2in. Since 2011 his goal ratio is just shy of 1 in every 2 games.
If we don’t take the approach of spending some of the Benteke profit, we still have the possible signings of raw talent who could turn into a valuable asset. The previously mentioned Helenius fits into this category, and who knows who else is on our radar. The Youtube link below does excite me, I must admit, although he may not be ready for Premier League football straight away.
Although I don’t want Benteke to go, the point is it won’t be the end of us. We might not have our eye on any of the above, and they may be unrealistic targets but the quality is out there. We have the proof of what we can do for a player’s career in Benteke himself, so if we put this to an up and coming player looking to impress on a bigger stage, we just might be able to find an able replacement.
Source: Villa Mad