By Josh Powell | Premier League 2013/14
Someone give Paul Lambert a rise. Apparently that man could convince someone to part with their right arm. Somehow, with his incredible power of persuasion he has got Christian Benteke to perform a monster U-turn and not only withdraw his transfer request, but commit his future to Aston Villa until 2017.
So the Belgian 22-year-old has turned his back on a potential move to Tottenham or Chelsea, ignored the prospect of challenging in a top-four side and ditched any hope of Champions League football to stay in the Midlands.
Paul Lambert take a bow.
For every gobsmacked football fan, there are a whole load of Villa fans out there who have plenty of reason to be delighted by the striker’s change of heart. And football punters should be joining them in celebrating.
First goalscorer profit*
- £305 – Steven Fletcher
- £290 – Christian Benteke
- £270 – Dimitar Berbatov
- £225 – Gareth Bale
- £190 – Rickie Lambert
- £117 – Luis Suarez
- £87 – Robin van Persie
If you’d stuck a tenner on Benteke every week to score first you’d have finished the 2012/13 season up a nice £290 – that’s an 88 per cent increase rate and enough to pay for plenty of beer in the summer sun. Only Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher would have earned you more, with super-suave Fulham front-man Dimitar Berbatov rounding off the top three.
Despite Villa flirting with relegation for most of the season, they managed to finish four points clear of the drop, courtesy of Benteke’s incredible goalscoring rate. Paul Lambert brought him for £7 million from Genk and he turned out to be one of the most influential signings of the season.
- Benteke scored 40 per cent of Villa’s league goals last season
- Without his goals Villa would have been 12 points worse off, finishing on just 29 points and getting relegated to the Championship
- The striker averaged a goal every 5.4 shots compared to Robin van Persie (5.4), Gareth Bale (7.8) and Luis Suarez (8.1)
- Benteke was Man of the Match in 25 per cent of league games he played
Villa fans might be furious by the striker’s original desire to leave and the reception at Villa Park might be mixed at first, but nothing heals a broken heart like a truckload of goals in August.
Have you got an eye for goal? Check out the latest odds for the 2013/14 top goalscorer in the Premier League
*Please note: The above is the profit you would show if you had put £10 on the player to score first every week in the Premier League season 2012/13. The stats take into account 344 of the league’s 380 games as our number-cruncher Brian took a holiday last year. That won’t happen again this season though don’t worry – he’s now locked in a cupboard Harry Potter-style and only allowed out when we need some interesting figures.