Christian Benteke has had a stunning season for Aston Villa so far, scoring 11 goals in all competitions to become Paul Lambert's bright spark.
According to The Mirror, several of England's top clubs are keeping a beady eye on the Belgian and his precarious situation with the Midlands club.
If anything were to happen, it'd be a complicated transfer with many factors to consider, but in theory it seems a superb, if expensive, potential piece of business.
Villa fans don't have to worry about losing their Belgian beast this winter—he's played for Genk and Villa in competitive games already this season, and the rules dictate you cannot play for three clubs in one season.
After watching Aston Villa in preseason action, very legitimate concerns were raised by a few. Despite winning games and dominating possession, clear-cut chances were being created at a premium.
After consecutive losses to West Ham and Everton, it was clear Darren Bent wasn't thriving. Pinpoint deliveries from Stewart Downing and Ashley Young were gone—Lambert needed a bigger target for his players to hit.
Enter Benteke, who quite literally no one had heard of.
B/R's Allan Jiang raised his concerns in a private conversation with myself about the Belgian's finishing—was he prolific, or was he benefiting from the plethora of chances Kevin De Bruyne was laying on his plate?
Well, he's not particularly prolific just yet, but he has shown he doesn't rely on others like Bent does—he crafts chances for himself out of nothing and finishes them off with aplomb.
It's that game-winning ability that makes him so valuable, and therefore so expensive.
Those who believe Lambert's men can stave off the drop are basing that prediction on the ability of Benteke. He's won games almost single-handedly against Liverpool and Reading to find six critical points for his side.
But those who believe Villa are doomed and for Benteke to make a swift exit, be aware it will take a huge fee to prise him away.
He arrived for £7 million, so don't expect him to leave for less than that as a starting point. So impressive the 22-year-old has been, The Mirror—among others—believe his value has likely doubled since August.
Randy Lerner has a history of collecting massive fees for his players, and with Benteke interesting Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, a bidding war could result in a big pay day.
|Gareth Barry||Manchester City||£12,000,000 (one year left)|
|James Milner||Manchester City||£24,000,000 + Stephen Ireland|
|Ashley Young||Manchester United||£17,000,000|
|Gary Cahill||Bolton Wanderers||£5,000,000|
Recent evidence of Spurs suggests they could really use a player like Benteke, but for £15-20 million, is it not worth going for Leandro Damiao who's a finished product?
The Belgian's hold up play and aerial prowess is excellent, but some improvement is needed on the deck. He only completes 65.6 percent of his passes, and that could be a turnoff for pass-happy Brendan Rodgers.