Transfer Handicap Match: Tottenham's Need vs. Villa's Price and Chelsea's Cash
After the night that Aston Villa was dreading, Christian Benteke’s future and has become the newest source of scuttlebutt around transfer circles. As you might have guessed, Tottenham’s circle currently is burning up with the idea of having a third Belgian in the ranks.
Getting the forward spot sewn up has been an overriding thought for some time after the up-and-down season Jermain Defoe had. A mention for Emmanuel Adebayor would indicate he had much of a season period.
£25 million is the number that is quoted by multiple sources such as Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard, Neil Moxley of the Mail and Sam Drury of Sky Sports. Rather than asking if anyone will pay up, the question being posed is who will make the offer first.
Anyone who has read anything even remotely involving Spurs in the transfer market knows the story of chairman Daniel Levy’s business methods. Full price is not a number normally associated with Tottenham’s answer to the Priceline Negotiator.
Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner are not slouches by any means either. Looking back for a moment at the Mail article, it is clear that the Villan brain trust is not interested in deal-making when they do not have to.
The attachment to Benteke is understandable from the perspective of Villa manager Paul Lambert. After all, Benteke is the primary reason Villa Park will be watching Premier League football this term instead of hosting Championship clubs.
The manager wants to be able to build on the foundation made by Benteke and Austrian Andreas Weimann. The front-line duo made waves with their understanding and crashed through defenses repeatedly in the 2012-13 campaign.
Benteke, however, knows there is a World Cup coming up and Belgium is looming in the dark-horse category already a full year out. Playing at Villa will certainly give him starting minutes. At the same time, it will be hard to make a claim for the starting XI when Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and others are going to make strong claims as well.
With that, a healthier payday and the obligatory agent factor in mind, Benteke has decided he wants to go.
This is, of course, where things get dicey from Tottenham’s perspective.
Chelsea know a thing or two about burly Belgian forwards—see Lukaku and Didier Drogba. While they have been linked with half the forwards under the sun in the Standard’s piece, the prospect of the 6'3" Benteke leading the line is an intriguing idea to Jose Mourinho.
One thing would be for certain with the Blues involved: Name a price and 95 percent of the time they’ll pay it. The other five percent might apply to a second £50-plus million forward.
Levy does not like to do business in that fashion. However, the Mail offers up two interesting points in the above piece.
The first is that there might be some hard feelings about Jermaine Jenas’ loan two seasons ago. Jenas was never 100 percent fit from the time the loan was made, and the midfielder only made three appearances for the Villans.
Without saying too much, the Mail’s piece implies that Villa think Spurs sold them down the river on the loan and are not too interested in negotiating with them.
That would probably also go hand in hand with the second part of the article that Villa are unmoving of their valuation. Liverpool were not ready to stump up £18 million for Gareth Barry, and Lerner refused to sell the midfielder until Manchester City paid up the following summer.
Having discussed earlier the idea that Levy would wait to try and drag the price down, it seems very unlikely that Tottenham will be afforded the opportunity to do so.
There are plenty of positives from a deal. Benteke’s pay packet upgrade would still fall within the club’s wage structure. Even at £25 million, there is likely plenty of profit to be made if the Belgian continues his assent.
With the World Cup around the corner, it is also likely Benteke could play like a monster in order to impress the Belgian coaching staff and carry Tottenham to a higher finish than last term.
It is going to take a lot for Levy to pull the trigger, though. One gets the feeling the Spurs chairman likes to be the one dictating the terms of any deal. A lack of interest in Leandro Damiao this summer would be evidence of such an idea.
But prime-time forwards are beginning to dwindle, and those who would overlook Champions League football for guaranteed playing time are at a premium. With Chelsea lurking, a stubborn owner calling the shots and a manager who loves the player, it is going to test all of Levy’s business instincts to make a deal happen.
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