Why Christian Benteke Would Be Foolish to Leave Aston Villa in January
Aston Villa have already successfully staved off Tottenham Hotspur's interest, confirmed by The Guardian in July this year, and upon convincing the striker to stay gifted him a hefty new four-year deal.
Undeterred, it appears two Serie A clubs have made the first moves of the season in trying to lure the Belgian elsewhere, but it would be surprising if he ends up at either one.
In fact, it would be a surprise if Benteke leaves at all this winter given the stable situation he finds himself in for club and country.
The January transfer window will be a stage for players who aren't getting regular football and are desperate for one last push at a squad place for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Benteke has no such worries, as he's guaranteed to slot back into Villa's starting XI upon returning from injury and will start for Belgium in the World Cup as it stands.
His recent injury has forced him to the sidelines, and in Zagreb for the Red Devils' crucial qualifier against Croatia, Romelu Lukaku finally showed up in a Belgium shirt and scored two great goals to secure passage to Brazil.
That single performance far from jeopardises Benteke's position under Marc Wilmots though, and one game won't be enough to see the former Genk man play second fiddle in South America next year.
It's very rare you'll see a player make a seismic move—particularly in January—in the season before a World Cup. Transfers bring all sorts of unknowns, and players have to be extremely careful in asking themselves whether they are guaranteed to prosper in a new environment.
Lazio, as the first example, doesn't look an ideal landing spot; Benteke's new colleague Libor Kozak was forced to move away from the Stadio Olimpico due to the presence of the timeless Miroslav Klose.
Their Italian rivals Juve, the second club reportedly interested at this stage, have the most intense battle for places along the forward line in all of Europe.
If Benteke fancies trying to break up the outstanding Mirko Vucinic-Carlos Tevez partnership then that's a risk he'll have to take, but first he needs to beat Fabio Quagliarella and Fernando Llorente to third place on the depth chart.
This is the first of many, many links that will trickle in during the run-up to January, and it feels a knee-jerk reaction from the national press on the back of Lukaku's good game in Zagreb.
Benteke would be foolish to leave the wonderful setup he has in Birmingham before the World Cup, but as soon as the tournament is over it becomes a very different story.
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