Transfer valuations are a funny thing. Many elements have to be taken into consideration before a price tag can be slapped on a player's head.
Current form is probably the most important aspect. If a player is performing well—banging in the goals, creating chances at will or keeping his side's “goals against” column at zero—then his stock will certainly rise somewhat.
Likewise, if his goal spell is dryer than the Sahara in summer then, of course, teams interested in the player will be willing to pay much less. Though you'd imagine there'd be significantly less interest if that was the case.
Other elements that must be taken into account before a decision is made on just how much someone is worth are: importance within the team, length of time left on contract, parent club's need/desire to sell and, in most cases, just how much the chairman can squeeze out of the deal. Daniel Levy, take a bow.
Christian Benteke is Aston Villa's most prized asset. The Belgian striker single-handedly saved them from relegation last season, netting 19 times in his debut season and was just one goal shy of matching Peter Withe's—Villa's European Cup winning goalscorer—32-year scoring record.
Unsurprisingly, Benteke caught the eye of a number of teams across Europe, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and even Real Madrid supposedly interested. And with Villa's future uncertain, Benteke opted to hand in a transfer request.
The Daily Mail reported back in July:
Spurs are set to make an opening £20million bid, but the Villans are holding out for £25m
Plenty of other teams, figures and rumours were thrown out there, but in the end nothing materialised. That was because Benteke withdrew his transfer request and signed a new deal with Villa. And his thoughts behind doing so? Well, your guess is as good as mine.
Had Paul Lambert promised Benteke that the claret and blues would be a force to be reckoned with if he were to stay a little longer? Maybe.
Was it the impending acquisition of future strike partner Libor Kozak, who finished as the 2012/13 Europa League top scorer but had failed to score in the Serie A with Lazio? I doubt it.
Or was it that the new deal would include a 100% pay rise, as the Daily Mail reported? If I were a betting man, then my money would be on that one.
The bumper new deal was, without a doubt, Villa's best bit of business of the summer. Benteke's new deal sees him tied to the Midlands club until 2017, and if he sees out his contract, then that would truly be a bonus. What it also means is that should Benteke leave the club—which is a distinct possibility—then the interested party will need to shell out for him.
Time and time again we have seen players, star players, move on for a minimal fee because of the short period they have on their contract. Just this summer, Christian Eriksen—Ajax's midfield maestro—joined Spurs for just £11.5m because he had one year remaining on his deal with the Dutch side.
Going into the season full of confidence knowing that he was his club's main man, and that he could now afford two watches or two cars per week instead of just the one, Benteke picked up where he left off.
Top of the scoring chart with four goals after just four games, he looked well on his way to surpassing his previous season's best, as well as Withe's tally. An unfortunate injury towards the end of September kept the Belgian sidelined for a number of weeks, and he's looked a tad off this pace since his return, though he's showed glimpses of his very best as he returns to full fitness.
Despite that run of poor goalscoring form, rumours continue to surround the Villa striker. The Guardian report that Tottenham are to make an offer for the Belgian in January, though the figure is somewhat vague. Initially the publication reported that the figure were to be £22m but a few days later it had risen to £28m.
Whatever the figure the London club (or any other club) opt for, should they choose to make a bid or not, it must be in that ball park.
Taking into account that he is Villa's most important player, has over three years left on his current deal, is desperately needed by Villa and the fact that chairman Randy Lerner tends to drive a hard bargain—Stewart Downing's £20m transfer fee to Liverpool a prime example—it is not inconceivable to think that Benteke is worth £25m in this current market.
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