Following 39 appearances and 23 goals for The Villains in his debut season, it’s safe to say he was being modest. The former Genk striker proved to be one of the best buys of last season. At only 22, Benteke tormented some of the best defenders in the league and made them look quite ordinary when he burst past them or muscled his way through.
The fact that he reduced a seasoned natural goal scorer like Darren Bent to an unnecessary expense having relegated him to the bench, stands testament to the impact he made at Villa Park. It’s no surprise then that Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in particular have expressed a keen interest in the colossal center forward.
With the relatively tame or perhaps even outdated options of Jermaine Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor to choose from, Tottenham are clearly in need of a top quality striker to spearhead their attack. Meanwhile, Liverpool are preparing for life without Luis Suarez as their transfer activity would suggest and signing Benteke would certainly go a long way to maintain their goal return without the Uruguayan.
|Two terms with Genk after promotion to senior team|
Even though Liverpool didn’t significantly improve their standing in the league last season, their style of play has certainly been reinvented under Brendan Rodgers. That’s precisely why the Anfield faithful have been encouraged by what they’ve seen on the pitch and have lent their full support to the former Swansea City boss.
However, with regards to Benteke, the question that arises is whether the striker would suit their new system and if so, where? Despite being a powerhouse upfront, the Belgian also possesses a good turn of pace but even though he is fairly mobile, he’s not the kind of striker who will drag defenders around. However, with so many attacking players in the final third, it would pay to have a big target like Benteke upfront to play off.
The physical aspect of his game is one of his more dominating assets and will keep defenders occupied while his aerial prowess makes him a deadly target in the box. With their style of play, the players they have and the ones they’ve recruited, it’s evident that craft and guile takes precedence over physicality at Liverpool for the moment.
Nevertheless, throwing in a bit of brute force into the mix could ensure that their attack packs a punch. However, if he does sign for the Reds, Rodgers will have a selection problem on his hands every week. Daniel Sturridge insists on playing centrally while they’ve also signed Iago Aspas and have Fabio Borini lying in wait. Aspas can play in the hole behind the striker but that still leaves only one slot open for Sturridge and Benteke to fight for.
|Would Spurs suit Benteke better than Liverpool?
Take the best of Defoe and Adebayor, subtract a few years and you’ve got the ideal striker for Tottenham. That’s what Benteke represents. He stands for Defoe’s consistency in front of goal and Adebayor’s role as a target man. Defoe yielded a decent return for Spurs last season with 15 goals but their system demands the presence of a target man who can hold up the ball and bring others into play as well.
Adebayor we know is capable of doing just that but his goal-scoring form only seems to turn up in patches. In Benteke, Spurs would finally have the complete striker that suits their system. With wingers like Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, they don’t need a striker dropping off or pulling wide but one who can get on the end of crosses.
From Benteke’s point of view, he would be the undisputed first choice striker at White Hart Lane. Spurs are desperate to get back into the Champions League and the Belgian striker could be their ticket to the big stage.
Both sides have European ambitions and are interested in the Villa forward who could fire them into the top four. Paul Lambert will be desperate to hold on to his biggest asset but the striker has already expressed his desire to play for a bigger club. He’s only 22 and so he has plenty of time on his hands. But his age also makes him seem like a worthwhile investment.
Do you think Benteke will be a success at Liverpool or Tottenham? Send in your thoughts in the comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @BrendonNetto.
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