Christian Benteke has made a remarkable u-turn after withdrawing his transfer request and putting pen to paper on an extended contract with Aston Villa.
He had been set for a move away from Villa Park and his initial request last week had put many of the Premier League’s top sides on high alert with the young Belgian having been so impressive in his debut season for the club.
He kept the Villains up almost single-handedly with a haul of nineteen League goals, and Paul Lambert will be delighted that his spearhead has committed his immediate future to the Club.
Benteke is now the seventh player to sign a new deal during the close season and Lambert looks to be building a side that should have much loftier ambitions next season, rather than worrying about the trap door to the Championship again.
It’s likely the Belgian international does have a release clause in his new extended deal which runs until 2017, should Tottenham pursue their reported initial interest in taking Benteke to White Hart Lane. Though significantly improved terms on his previous salary of around £1M a year should be enough to keep him happy for the foreseeable future in the Midlands.
It’s a hugely positive turnaround for Villa, and perhaps ducks what could have become a worrying trend of players signing for a currently less successful club, enjoying great debut seasons and then having weighty cheque books waved at them from the upper echelons of the League.
If the top English League is to remain fervently competitive then sides battling it out below the European places must build teams and squads around star players, resisting the understandable urge to cash in on rising stock.
Benteke perhaps believed he was bigger and better than the club after his heroics last season, and was told to stay away from the club’s pre-season tour to Germany after his submitting his transfer request. Villa were unlikely to give him the Florent Malouda youth training treatment but were certainly looking to hold out for a significant return on their initial £7M investment on the powerful forward from Belgian side Genk.
The club have moved quickly to bolster a squad that was stretched to the limit in their relegation battle, with Alexsandar Tonev, Leandro Bacuna, Antonio Luna, Jores Okore, Jed Steer, and Nicklas Helenius all waiting to meet their presumably happier team-mate. Helenius in particular has been impressive so far in pre-season, getting off the mark for his new club and Aston Villa will be hoping Christian Benteke can continue to make a serious mark on the Premier League in the 2013/14 season.