Picking a Tottenham XI to Include Christian Benteke Next Season

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2013

Picking a Tottenham XI to Include Christian Benteke Next Season

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    Two of the best stories in the EPL this season have come in the form of Tottenham Hotspur and Christian Benteke. 

    Spurs are in the fight for third place in the EPL with Chelsea, looking to secure a spot in next season's edition of the UEFA Champions League.

    Benteke has been a powerful force up front for Aston Villa since his move to Villa Park over the summer from the Belgian club Genk. 

    The 22-year-old Belgian international has scored 11 goals in EPL play this season, but his efforts have not been enough to keep the Villains out of the relegation battle. 

    If Villa are relegated this season, they will have to cash in on their best assets, and Benteke is quite possibly their best asset at the moment.

    The latest talk around Benteke came just a few days ago as his Villa teammate Gabriel Agbonlahor claimed that the Belgian could play at a higher level than Spurs and Arsenal (via Daily Mail).

    Despite the comments of Agbonlahor, Tottenham need a forward, and Benteke is likely to be on the market this summer.

    Here is a starting 11 for Tottenham based on if they were to sign Benteke. 

GK: Hugo Lloris

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    Unless something catastrophic happens to Hugo Lloris, he will be the Tottenham first-choice goalkeeper for quite some time. 

    Since taking over as the permanent starter in the Tottenham goal in November, Lloris has proven why he is the first-choice keeper not only at the club level, but also at the international level with France as well. 

    Lloris has recorded nine clean sheets this season in all competitions for the North London club. 

RB: Kyle Walker

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    Kyle Walker has started at right-back in 26 of Tottenham's 27 EPL matches this season.

    Much of the same is expected from the 22-year-old England international in the future. 

    Walker is a strong defender and a dangerous taker of free kicks on the offensive end.

    However, Walker will not be taking many free kicks as long as Gareth Bale is in the squad. 

CB: Jan Vertonghen

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    Jan Vertonghen has impressed fans and pundits alike with his performances in the Tottenham back four this season.

    The summer signing from Ajax played much of the first half of the season at left-back due to an injury crisis at the position, but he has now shifted back to his preferred center-back role.

    The 25-year-old Belgian has made 31 appearances in all competitions for Spurs this season, and when he is healthy, he seems to be one of the first players written down on the team sheet. 

    The player who will be Vertonghen's defensive partner is something that is a bit less certain than the Belgian's spot in the starting 11. 

CB: Younes Kaboul

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    One player who has been out of the Tottenham lineup for most of the season is center-back Younes Kaboul.

    Kaboul suffered a knee injury back in August and is currently on his way to return to first-team action.

    The 27-year-old Frenchman will have plenty of competition at center-back next season when he reaches full fitness.

    Steven Caulker will be the main challenger to Kaboul's starting spot, while the futures of veterans Michael Dawson and William Gallas are uncertain at the moment. 

    Even though he has been injured for most of the season, Kaboul has still attracted interest from other clubs, with Anzhi Makhachkala interested in signing the defender (via The Guardian).

    The offer from Anzhi will not be the last one that Spurs receive for Kaboul, but with Champions League play ahead next season, the North London club will need a strong defender like Kaboul to partner Vertonghen. 

LB: Benoit Assou-Ekotto

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    There is plenty of competition at the left-back position at Tottenham right now. 

    Benoit Assou-Ekotto is the primary left-back at the moment, and his experience puts him ahead of Kyle Naughton and Ezekiel Fryers on the depth chart. 

    Assou-Ekotto was hurt during the first half of the season, and during that time Tottenham discovered that they have quite the talent waiting in the wings in Naughton. 

    With Champions League play most likely headlining the Tottenham fixture list next season, expect Andre Villas-Boas to go with his left-back with the most experience in Assou-Ekotto. 

    The good news for Naughton is that he will get some playing time throughout the season due to a crowded fixture list.

    If Fryers can not fight his way into the first team, he may be sent out on loan next season to hone his skills. 

RM: Aaron Lennon

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    If you are a right-winger on the Tottenham squad not named Aaron Lennon, you might want to pick up a second position.

    Lennon has been one of the most durable players in the EPL this season, starting all 27 of Tottenham's matches. 

    The 25-year-old Englishman has also started in seven of the club's eight Europa League matches. 

    Lennon is one of the fastest players in the EPL at the moment, and his skill set causes trouble for even the best left-backs playing in the English top flight. 

    With no signs of Lennon leaving anytime soon, the right wing is all his. 

CM: Sandro

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    Sandro had also started all of Tottenham's matches in the EPL this season before he suffered a season-ending injury against QPR on January 12 (via BBC Sport).

    When he was healthy, Sandro was consistently put into the starting 11 by AVB, and he formed quite the formidable midfield partnership with Mousa Dembele. 

    Next season when the Brazilian is fully fit to play, he is expected to slide right back into the role in the central midfield where he succeeded with flying colors this season. 

CM: Mousa Dembele

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    When Mousa Dembele joined Spurs from Fulham this summer, his role in the starting 11 was unknown.

    Halfway through his first full season at White Hart Lane, however, Dembele has turned in a star in the center of midfield. 

    Since Sandro went down with his injury, Dembele has not missed a beat in midfield alongside Scott Parker. 

    Dembele is the more offensive player of the two central midfielders, and he showed off his attacking prowess in the second leg of Tottenham's Europa League round of 32 tie with Lyon when his powerful shot sent Spurs into the final 16 of the competition. 

    Behind Dembele and Sandro on the depth chart are Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore, all three of whom may leave the club this summer. 

LM: Gareth Bale

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    While there is a tremendous amount of transfer speculation surrounding Gareth Bale's departure from White Hart Lane, the ability to play in the UEFA Champions League with Tottenham should keep the Welshman around for another season. 

    Bale is currently in the midst of a stellar run of form that has seen him score eight goals in his last six matches. 

    The most recent exploits of the Welsh superstar came on Monday night, when he won Spurs' match with West Ham in the final minute with a spectacular goal.

    There is no doubt that Bale is a world-class talent, and if he can stay in North London for another season, Tottenham could do something special. 

CF: Jermain Defoe

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    Jermain Defoe has lined up in the starting 11 both as the main forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation and alongside Emmanuel Adebayor in a 4-4-2 this season. 

    Despite the changes in formation, Defoe has scored 14 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season. 

    Even with the addition of strong goal scorer in Christian Benteke, AVB should find a way to include Defoe into the starting 11. 

    The perfect way to use the speedy Defoe in the starting 11 would be to use him as the central attacking player in a 4-2-3-1 or as a player who sits just behind the tall, powerful Benteke in a 4-4-1-1. 

    For this to happen, Defoe will have to continue to score goals or he could see his position in the starting lineup taken by Clint Dempsey or Lewis Holtby. 

ST: Christian Benteke

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    If Christian Benteke does complete a move to Tottenham, the days of Emmanuel Adebayor at White Hart Lane will be numbered.

    Benteke would replace Adebayor in the squad as the forward who is strong and can play a big role in the air. 

    This season, AVB has tried to make some variation of the 4-4-2 work with Defoe and Adebayor, and there is no doubt that the Tottenham manager will try to do the same with Defoe and Benteke. 

    The one concern that fans could have about Benteke is that he is young and he does not have the amount of European experience that Spurs would need in the UEFA Champions League. 

    As for Benteke's play against the bigger clubs in England, his two best performances of the season came against Liverpool and Everton, two clubs that should qualify for European play next season.

    If Benteke wants to take the next step forward in his career, a move to Tottenham would be wise, as he would have plenty of reliable teammates to provide him with attempts on goal. 

    What do you think of this potential Spurs starting 11?

    Comment below or follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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