Paul Merson doubts Christian Benteke can replicate his goal record but believes Aston Villa have a gamble to make

Former Villa midfielder says that striker will make money for the club whether he stays or goes

Former Aston Villa star Paul Merson has defended Christian Benteke’s transfer request suggesting that the situation could be a win-win situation for the club.

Benteke scored 23 goals in all competitions last season, but he rocked the club’s hierarchy when he handed in a transfer request earlier this week.

But Merson, who made over 100 appearances for Villa, believes that the club have to make a choice whether to cash in on the striker now, or to hold-out and hope he earns them more on the pitch with his performances.

 “Sometimes it’s not the player, sometimes it’s the agent who will look at it and think wait there a minute, he’s got 20 odd goals, he’s been unbelievable,” Merson told Absolute Radio.

“Is he going to do that next season?  I very much doubt it. Do you take the £23 million or 24, 25 - whatever it is or do you play safe and if he does stay, they will stay up and then it’s worth 100 million. That’s the big gamble Aston Villa have.”

Benteke has been linked with a move to another Premier League club, with Tottenham reported as a possible destination though Chelsea are believed to be in the hunt too.

Owner Randy Lerner has given the ok to chief executive Paul Faulkner to hold out for a fee around £25m, meaning clubs will have to part with a substantial sum of money to land the forward.

Merson also spoke on whether the Belgian would stay at Villa Park despite being unhappy.

“I don’t believe in all that unhappy player stuff. If he’s there at the start and he’s signed and the window closes, I don’t think he’s a lad who’s going to sit there and mug it off and sulk.

“I just don’t see that at all.  I think if he does that other managers will then look at him for next season and think no he’s a bad egg.  So I don’t see a problem.  I don’t think Villa lose either way.”

Paul Merson was speaking to Absolute Radio's Rock 'N' Roll Football Show with Ian Wright

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat