Aston Villa fans, hold your nerve.
This is going to be the first of many reports of Chrisitan Benteke moving away from Villa Park this summer.
The Belgian international forward has made a sensational start to life in England, scoring 23 goals and almost single-handedly dragging Villa to Premier League safety.
However the 22-year-old striker has been attracting plenty of interest, after a campaign that saw him establish himself as one of the leading marksmen in the EPL.
Benteke’s agent, Eris Kismet, revealed that Dortmund are among plenty of interested suitors.
“I am aware of the Dortmund representation at Villa Park for the Chelsea match [on Saturday], but Christian is still a Villa player and nothing has changed on that point,” Kismet told ESPN. “It is natural for many teams to show an interest when Christian has had such a good season and scored many goals, but it is his first season in the Premier League.”
So if Benteke does leave Villa, how much would it be for? Where would he go? And why would he leave?
Okay, okay, settle down. We will get to all that.
So, the Belgian was relatively unknown before he became Paul Lambert’s big summer signing last year. But everyone knows about him now.
The towering attacker has spent time on loan with Belgian minnows Kortrijk and Mechelen, before establishing himself at parent club Genk in the 2011-12 season, which earned him the big-money move to Villa.
And that $13 million price that Villa paid for him seems like an absolute bargain now, as Benteke’s suitors line up around the corner to try and tempt him away from a Villa side firmly in transition.
A move to Dortmund would be a great option, especially if they lose Robert Lewandowski this summer. The Belgian would be guaranteed Champions League soccer next season, instead of another relegation scrap with the Villans. But he is adored by Villa fans, Lambert has shown faith in him and the Birmingham-based club have built their whole attack around the young Belgian. So would he be daft to leave all that behind?
If he does leave, Villa could see a healthy profit for their star player after only one season on the books. Benteke’s value is currently believed to be around the $30 million mark. So that’s well over a 50 percent profit, which will never be frowned upon by owner Randy Lerner.
But I think it would be premature to leave so early in his EPL career. Benteke’s brute force, pace and tremendous aerial ability really suites the EPL style of play. Bigger teams in England, the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham have voiced an interest in his services.
Like I said at the very start, brace yourselves Villa fans. Stories surrounding Christian Benteke’s impending departure are set to rattle on all summer long.