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'Pride in the Badge,
Pride in the Club,
Pride in our History,
Pride in our Future.

Proud to be a Villan'

Aston Villa ARE Sending Out The Right Message.

Christian Benteke’s transfer request is a shock. Some fans will argue it was expected, but these fans will be the same (glass half empty) fans that assumed Bent would leave in each transfer window since his arrival. They always assume the worst and who can blame them? We have been here many times before:

Gareth Barry - £12m,
James Milner - £26m (£18m, plus add-ons & Stephen Ireland),
Ashley Young - £17.5m,
Stewart Downing - £20m.

Those four players eventually left, as all Villa players will one day, but they left for the combined value of £75.5m, despite all four wanting to leave, being in the final year or two of their contracts and some even handing in formal transfer requests. Many have slated Villa for these sales, but in the circumstances, each transfer was (mostly) handled well. They were sold for big money to prevent them walking away for nothing, which they all would have done. Apart from physically forcing them to sign new contracts against their will, I fail to see what more the club could have done.

Some say we are a selling club, but in reality, every club is a selling club. Ronaldo left Manchester United, Torres left Liverpool, Falcao has left Atlético Madrid and now Benteke will leave Aston Villa. This is modern day football and although many will want to blame someone, don’t point your fingers at Randy Lerner. An improved contract was offered, the club was set up to hand him a World Cup place, we gave him the Premier League platform he desired and he wants out after 10 months. What more could Lerner, Faulkner and Lambert do to convince him to stay? If he wants to take bad agent advice and risk his career for a payday, let him. I support Aston Villa, not Christian Benteke. We will move onwards and upwards without him.

The good news is that we are a club well known for squeezing every penny we can out of clubs trying to take our star players. Gareth Barry’s transfer request, unauthorised interview to the News of The World and sneaky agent speaking with Liverpool got him nowhere, other than playing another season at Villa, without the captain’s armband. Liverpool’s initial £12m offer, for a desperate to leave Stewart Downing, was laughed at. We held our ground and received almost double the initial bid. Ashley Young was kept until his last contracted year before leaving and multiple Man City bids were rejected for James Milner, before our record sale was finalised. Aston Villa doesn’t sell cheaply, quickly or easily. Christian Benteke is one of the most sought after players in European football, with three years to run on his £20k-a-week contract and he is already better than any player we have sold since Dwight Yorke. We don’t want to sell him, we don’t have to sell him and unless we receive a better offer than the £26m deal received for Milner, we won’t sell him.

I believe Benteke has found a buyer. I hope he moves abroad to prevent him coming back to haunt us, but I do believe it’s an English side who will get him. He wouldn’t be foolish enough to burn his bridges with Villa if he didn’t already have one foot in the door of his next employers. A bid will be expected very soon and I expect Aston Villa to reject it. No club will instantly bid £25m-£30m for a potential one season wonder and so I am expecting a saga. This will take a while, but as Brian Doogan said, “Should we receive an offer within an appropriate time frame during pre-season, which meets our valuation, we would act upon it.” That is the time frame, not after pre-season, not during the start of our league campaign, but “during” pre-season. We need time to replace Benteke and so the sooner this is sorted, the better. It is the best approach we can take. If I were Lambert, I would be telling clubs, “Meet our valuation by 31st July or he stays.” We shouldn’t be left without time to spend the profits and I don’t expect that to be the case.

The club is standing strong and rightly so. We will not be bullied. Benteke will start the season as a Villa player, just like Barry did in 2008 after being stripped of the captaincy and fined two weeks wages, or we will receive £25m-£30m.

If he leaves, he will need replacing. It is understood we already want a playmaker and competition at right back, but if Benteke goes we will target a new striker too. It is pleasing to read Lambert has scouted players in case of such a scenario, so we are prepared for the worst, but the money from any sale needs to be pumped into the squad. Some of it will probably be used to pay off Ireland, Given and Bent, in order to push their moves through, but most of it needs to be spent on additional signings. This is the Lambert philosophy. Benteke was always going to leave for big money, but this is happening 12 months before it was expected. In order for Aston Villa to grow, we have to buy small and sell big, just like Borussia Dortmund have done. We are about to make a profit of over £20m on a player signed for £7m ten months ago. That is excellent business. I hate seeing star players leave just like everybody else, but if they absolutely must leave, this is the way to sell them.

The good news is Guzan, Baker and Weimann have signed new contracts; six young, talented players have been signed already (before the selling clubs knew of a potential £30m in our pocket) and now a Benteke sale will speed up our remaining transfer dealings. Hopefully another midfielder will be added to Lambert’s shopping list too. With N’Zogbia injured long term, rumoured to be surplus to requirements and El Ahmadi failing to impress, I would like another creative player targeted, should Benteke leave. It’s something extra we could now afford to do.

Strap yourselves in for another bumpy transfer window. It appears we will never see a quiet Aston Villa summer again, but I’m confident Lambert will have us in a stronger position come 2nd September, when this transfer window closes.

We’re Aston Villa. We will come out on top of this. We will stand strong and we shall not be moved!

Follow Steve on twitter: @ASTVIL123

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The Journalist

Writer: Steven Hunt Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday July 10 2013

Time: 6:26PM

Your Comments

Good positive finish to arsenal game little to late but encouraging for the fans hope we can build on this and take it to the next game. Love you the villa always
John Ankcorn

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