Tim Sherwood’s task of turning Aston Villa around is about to get a whole lot more difficult, at least if a report from The Telegraph is true.
Liverpool is hoping to fix its striker dilemma by triggering a $50 million release clause in Christian Benteke’s contract, allowing the big man to move away from Villa Park.
Sherwood didn’t acknowledge the figure, nor did he allow that Benteke would want to leave, but admitted the release clause would make it “impossible” to keep him in the fold.
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The Midlands club is hoping to keep the 24-year-old Belgian, who has scored 49 goals in 99 matches since coming to the Premier League from Genk in 2012.
But Liverpool fans must salivate at the idea of teaming Benteke with Daniel Sturridge atop its formation, with Philippe Coutinho working his wizardy underneath that dynamic duo.
Benteke’s figure looms largely over Villa’s hopes not just for next season, but for Saturday’s FA Cup Final against Arsenal.
Of course Sherwood has obliged fans of his rhetoric with some A-plus material as to why Benteke should stick around. From the BBC:
“I don’t think he should be moving clubs before a European Championship,” he said.
“By playing for Aston Villa it hasn’t hindered him being the first choice at Belgium, up to now.
“So to come here and score at the ratio in which he has scored, since I have taken over, if he ends scoring 20 or 30 goals next season he is probably playing for Real Madrid.”
So what you’re saying is that if Benteke were to join a larger club and feature a bit less, then Belgium boss Marc Wilmots would opt against choosing him for the Euros? Tim? Really? And to assume that Real Madrid — or a similar club — wouldn’t want him now and instead needs a Benteke with a 20- or 30-goal season?
With respect to Belgium’s forward crop, only Romelu Lukaku is in the ballpark of filling the same striker’s role as Benteke. Otherwise, it’s a winger-heavy batch. Wilmots is going to bring Benteke unless he suffers another injury around tournament time.