Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke will be the target of January transfer approaches from Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, according to multiple reports on Thursday, despite signing a new deal at the Midlands side during the summer.
Benteke, 22, was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham at the start of the summer—per BBC Sport—as he handed in a transfer request at Villa Park. He eventually came full circle, signing a new contract just 10 days later.
Tottenham are planning to offer Aston Villa £28m for 22-year-old striker Christian Benteke. (Daily Star)— Transfer Centre (@CentreTransfer) October 23, 2013
However, per the Daily Mail's Simon Jones, Spurs are expected to launch a significant offer in January:
Tottenham Hotspur are looking to make a £28 million bid for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke in the January transfer window.
The Belgian, who made an astonishing U-turn in the summer to sign a new contract at Villa Park despite interest from Chelsea and Spurs, could move to London sooner than Villa fans expected.
Who should Benteke join?
While that may be a worry in itself for Villa fans, the Daily Star's Jack Wilson adds that Liverpool and Arsenal could also join the chase.
Wilson reports that Liverpool would look to the Belgian to lead their forward line should Luis Suarez depart amid Real Madrid interest, while Arsenal have been playing this season with little backup for first-team centre-forward Olivier Giroud.
It is, though, Tottenham who have been the most strongly linked of the trio.
As the article suggests, Benteke is not the only forward on Spurs' radar—with Manchester United's Javier Hernandez also mentioned—but the Belgian would be the all-round centre-forward manager Andre Villas-Boas' system requires.
Both Soldado and Jermain Defoe are excellent penalty-box strikers, but Benteke would offer another dimension in terms of hold-up play outside the box. Hernandez, meanwhile, would be more of the same.
Were any offers to arrive, it would be understandable if the Belgian were to move on. All three clubs could feasibly offer Champions League football next year, while Villa are not at that level currently.
Add in that he could, doubtless, improve upon his current salary at any of the three clubs and it becomes apparent that Villa will struggle to persuade him to stay for a second time.
Were an offer of approaching £30 million to arrive on Paul Lambert's desk, it would be hard to reject at present, and given the club's track record over the past couple of seasons, Lambert could, no doubt, spend the money wisely.
Losing Benteke midseason, though, is not a prospect that the club's supporters will want to entertain at present.