Arsenal FC: Pros and Cons of Signing Christian Benteke
With each day that passes without Arsenal confirming the signing of Gonzalo Higuain, the deal becomes less and less likely to happen.
With an Arsenal move for the Argentine striker now completely up in the air, the North London outfit must persist in their hunt for a top-class striker, as it's absolutely essential that the club makes a marquee signing this summer.
Step in Christian Benteke. The Aston Villa striker could potentially be a perfect alternative to Gonzalo Higuain, and according to BBC Sport he recently handed in a transfer request, which makes perfect timing.
Here are some pros and cons of Arsenal signing Christian Benteke.
Pro: He's proven Premier League quality
Before his move to Aston Villa from Belgian outfit Racing Genk last summer, Christian Benteke was virtually unknown
He took the Premier League by storm, though, scoring 19 in 34 league appearances and four more in the Capital One Cup. Along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Benteke was one of Villa's most important players in avoiding relegation, having a knack for scoring goals when it really mattered.
Unlike a player from a foreign league—like Gonzalo Higuain or Stevan Jovetic—Benteke is a proven Premier League goalscorer, so adjusting to the English game would be no problem at all.
Pro: He would be a marquee signing
Arguably the most anticipated event of the summer for Arsenal supporters is the arrival of a "marquee signing," a big-name player breaking the club's transfer record and signalling a change in transfer policy.
While Benteke doesn't quite have the big-name value of Wayne Rooney or Cesc Fabregas, Aston Villa have apparently slapped a £25 million fee on their star striker according to John Percy of The Telegraph, meaning he definitely fits in the "marquee signing" category.
Spending more money isn't usually a good thing in the transfer market. In Arsene Wenger's case though, dishing out £25 million on one of most sought-after strikers of the summer would not only bring the skeptics on his side, but it would be a statement of intent for Arsenal this upcoming season.
Pro: His age
Although his physique and power—comparable, dare I say it, to a certain Didier Drogba—might make him seem a few years older, Christian Benteke is still only 22 years old.
Benteke's phenomenal season with Aston Villa and the fact that he's on the right side of 23 makes him a rising star in world football and one of the most promising young strikers in the Premier League.
Age isn't really a problem for Arsenal's present strike force—Olivier Giroud is only turning 27 in September, while new signing Yaya Sanogo is currently making waves at the U-20 World Cup for France—but it's certainly a positive that Benteke is so young and so powerful.
Con: The risk of second season syndrome
A direct contradiction of the first "pro," one of the potential cons of Arsenal signing Christian Benteke would be the risk of the forward suffering from second season syndrome.
What is second season syndrome, you might ask? One perfect example is Papiss Cisse. The Senegalese forward signed for Newcastle in January 2012 and immediately dominated the Premier League, scoring 13 goals in 14 games—oh, and he netted the goal of the season along the way.
The 2012-13 campaign, however, wasn't quite as prolific for Cisse. He netted just eight goals in 36 league appearances all season—compared to 2011-12, that's five less goals in 23 more appearances.
To sum it up, second season syndrome is when a player who has an exceptional first season—or half season, in Papiss Cisse's case—falls short of their own standards in the following campaign.
Second season syndrome is definitely a possibility for Christian Benteke, yet it shouldn't deter Arsene Wenger from moving for the powerful front man. Hopefully a move to Arsenal would only motivate Benteke to improve his game even more.
Con: The possibility that he could flop at a bigger club like Arsenal
Here's another possible risk in the potential Arsenal move for Benteke.
It doesn't happen all the time, but there are plenty of instances where a striker who bags goals for fun at a mid-table club can't quite replicate their form at a larger club, for a number of reasons.
Take Demba Ba, for example (see the Senegalese Newcastle striker theme here?). The 28-year-old had a brilliant start to the 2012-13 campaign, netting 13 goals in 20 league appearances and earning a January move to Chelsea as the Blues activated his release clause.
Ba was drastically less spectacular in a Chelsea jersey, scoring just twice in 14 league appearances. One could argue that Ba's dip in form was due to his lack of playing time, but in a way that's exactly the point. At Newcastle Demba Ba was the focal point of the attack, the star striker; at Chelsea Ba suffered from no longer being the main man, finding first-team chances limited.
If Christian Benteke really is as good as we think he is, he'll be ready to step it up for a bigger team. That being said, this particular "con" could be a concern for the Belgian.
The team worked around him at Aston Villa, but it won't be like that at Arsenal. The Gunners have moved on from the 2011-12 season, when all of the play was based around one striker in Robin van Persie.
Would Christian Benteke be a good signing for Arsenal?
Do the pros outweigh the cons, or do the cons outweigh the pros? Leave your opinion in the poll above or the comments below on whether or not Christian Benteke would be a good fit for the Gunners.
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