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
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on sack as Liverpool manager prepares to meet bosses in next 36 hours
Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history