Christian Benteke has shocked Paul Lambert and fans of Aston Villa by slapping in a transfer request on Monday,The Mirror reports.
The Belgian managed a fantastic debut season in the Premier League, scoring 40% of Villa’s league goals, as they avoided relegation to the Championship by just five points.
Despite rumours the Midlands club were set to double his salary to upwards of £40,000 per week, the 22 year old has expressed his desire to leave the club, with Chelsea leading the line ready to pounce.
Paul Lambert has left the striker in England as the Villans prepare for the new season on their tour of Germany, but if rumours are too believed, they could triple their investment on the hitman, having secured his services for just £8 million last summer.
Supporters of the Midlands club will be hoping that this issue is solved sooner rather than later, as a replacement will definitely need to be sought, as the only forward brought in so far is the relatively unknown Nicklas Helenius, a £1.2 million purchase from AaB.
Agbonlahor, Weimann, and Bent are the other three recognised forwards in the squad, but with the trio managing just 19 goals between them last season, it is clear that Lambert may have to execute another Benteke-esque type signing to avoid another relegation scrap next season.
Belgium are hotly-tipped to be a surprise package in Brazil for the World Cup next summer, and Benteke could be the man to lead the line for them, but with fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku back on the books at Chelsea, that move seems to unlikely, especially with the Blues’ favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
However, after £24 million Darren Bent was left to rot in the reserves last season after handing in a transfer-request, it is clear that the Villans are not forced to cash in, and will wait until their valuation is matched.
A possible scenario is that we would sign Benteke and loan Lukaku back out to Villa, or possibly a part-exchange deal with Demba Ba going the opposite way. However, at £20m+, is he the right man to fill in at the Bridge? Or are we better going for a more experienced, and proven striker.
By Brad Smith