With 42 goals in 88 games for Aston Villa, it is safe to say that Christian Benteke has adapted to the English game. The 13 goals that Benteke scored this season was just under half of Villa’s entire goals tally for the season, a statistic which shows how reliant the Birmingham side are on the Belgium international. A move to Manchester United may alleviate Benteke of such pressure, which could in turn help him on the field. Having the chance to learn a thing or two under United’s main man Wayne Rooney may also help in his development. Whether or not Benteke wants to play second fiddle remains to be seen, but the prospect of being supplied by some of the best creative players in the Premier League might just sway him to want to move.
United have had a variety of strikers over the past decade but none that quite match the presence that Benteke offers. Standing at 6ft 3ins, he won more aerial duels per game than any other United player this season, including the slightly-taller Marouane Fellaini. Benteke’s aerial prowess means he is able to bring others into play, but his link-up play is not limited to flick-ons. Benteke enjoys laying off the ball to supporting players and moving inside to find space in the box. It is here, inside the area, that Benteke thrives. He scored an impressive goal against his potential suitors Untied last year, where all of his traits culminated in a sweetly-taken curling effort after bearing Jonny Evans to the ball. While his awareness isn’t the most refined – he was the player caught offside the most last season – when his timing his just right it is very hard to stop the burly Belgian.
Despite the £34m buyout clause being a considerable amount of money, a move for Benteke may prove to be the cheapest alternative to other options on the market. United have been linked with no shortage of big name strikers over the summer – Edinson Cavani, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuian and Robert Lewandowski to name a few – but the prices of such players dwarf that of Villa’s valuation of Benteke. Cavani, Higuain and Lewandowski are valued at well over £50m while both Benzema and Real Madrid have made no public declarations of wanting to part ways. While outlay for Benteke is great, and comes with risk, there aren’t a lot of Premier League-ready options out there for less than what Villa are asking for.
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