Aston Villa could be faced with the prospect of losing Christian Benteke this summer, but that won’t stop Tim Sherwood in his attempts to restore the Midlands outfit to former glory. The Belgian international is hot under the radar of a number of elite Premier League clubs, with his £32.5 million by-out clause proving a real concern for the Villa faithful.
Nonetheless, should the likes of Liverpool or Manchester United, who are currently the leading favourites for Benteke’s signature, chose to match this fee, reports suggest that Sherwood has already located his star man’s replacement – Queens Park Rangers’ Charlie Austin. The London outfit’s relegated top goalscorer is seen as the perfect successor for the Belgian international.
Benteke may have found his form throughout Sherwood’s tenure at Villa Park, but Austin is a man who consistently produced throughout his debut top flight season. With 18 goals (to Benteke’s 13), for a Queens Park Rangers team that finished at the foot of the table, it is easy to see why the former Swindon man is in such high demand.
Rangers are expected to cash in on new England recruit Austin, but it would take an offer in the region of £15 million to persuade them to part. Nonetheless, should Villa fetch the full price for their Belgian talisman then there should be little difficulty in writing a cheque for this amount, while leaving plenty of change to spare.
In the long-run, selling Benteke at his peak could be in the club’s best interests.