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Paul Merson says Benteke and Suarez exits would cause huge damage

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 11th July 2013 view comments

Aston Villa took a chance on Christian Benteke last summer and put a lot of faith in him - and less than a year later he's asking for a transfer.

So now the club has to weigh up what they're going to do. They could sell him for a lot of money (and they're talking about £25million, which is a LOT of money) in the belief that he might not play so well again next year.

Christian Benteke: Will he still be a Villa player when they face Liverpool in August?

Christian Benteke: Will he still be a Villa player when they face Liverpool in August?

If they keep Benteke I think they'll be alright because you don't see many teams in the bottom three with a 20-goal-a-season striker, but if they sell him then Aston Villa will be in a relegation battle.

So that's the big gamble. They could take the £25million now, but if they go down it could cost them £100million. And if they wait until next summer he might only be worth £7million.

Personally, I don't think Benteke's good enough to play for Arsenal. I don't mean that in a horrible way, but I don't think he's clever enough to play for a team that dominates football matches and play in the opposition's half for 75 per cent of the game.

Paul Merson
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Aston Villa v Liverpool

Aston Villa will face Liverpool exclusively live on Saturday Night Football on August 24. Only on Sky Sports can you watch 43 live Premier League matches between August and December including every club twice, nine derbies and the big head to heads between last season's top four.

This is a real horrible one for Paul Lambert and you wouldn't wish it on any manager. The owner of the club will be sat there thinking "I bought this lad for £7m and I can get £25m", but how do you replace him? I can't see Villa going out and spending £15m on a player.

Tottenham are the favourites to sign him and he might do quite well there. With Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale on the wings getting crosses in, he could be a success.

He'd certainly be more of a success there than he would at Arsenal.

I don't think he's good enough to play for Arsenal. I don't mean that in a horrible way, but I don't think he's clever enough to play for a team that dominates football matches and play in the opposition's half for 75 per cent of the game.

Villa get attacked and opposition sides tend to leave a lot of space in behind and that suits him better. Arsenal are looking at people like Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, so I'd be shocked if Benteke went there.

I don't see him going to Chelsea, either. I don't want to say he's not good enough, it's just that his game is not right for that club. It's like Demba Ba; I don't think Chelsea suit his game either.

He's also been talked about as a potential replacement for Suarez at Liverpool, but you're talking about chalk and cheese there.

I can only wish all the best to whoever takes his place at Anfield... it's like trying to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United. I wouldn't fancy it!


If Liverpool do lose Suarez this summer, then I don't know where they're going. You have to feel sorry for the fans because it's a massive club and all of a sudden people want to leave left, right and centre.

Admittedly he has changed his tune a bit in recent weeks. When he went over to Uruguay he was quoted as suggesting that he wanted to get out of Liverpool, he had a pop at the English media and said people were getting on his back. It seemed to be everybody else's fault but his.

He thought he was going to Real Madrid or somewhere like that, but if I'm being honest it seems like nobody wants him abroad. I don't think people want to pay big money, especially with some of the baggage that comes with him.

All of a sudden he seems to have changed his tune to "I love Liverpool, but I want to play Champions League football". If he'd come out straight away and said that then I don't think you could argue - and Phil Thompson has said that all along!

He's been a sensation at Liverpool and I don't think you could argue with him wanting to move on. But even though he's changed his tune now, people will remember his original comments.

The Liverpool fans would go Radio Gaga, but I could really see him finishing up at Arsenal - and what a buy it would be for Arsene Wenger. He could end up with one of the top 10 players in world football. He would suit them perfectly, but Liverpool's fans would be fuming.


If Liverpool can keep him then I don't see why Liverpool can't finish fourth, especially if they can deny Arsenal a big signing. He's the sort of player who's so good, you just don't know how far he can go.

However, if he leaves then they're a team looking at sixth or seventh. There's no chance of them getting in the Champions League. That's how big he is for them.

I know that people say that players are not bigger than their clubs, and I would go along with that, but Benteke and Suarez carry as much for their teams as any club that plays in the Premier League. The only other player that means as much to his team in Gareth Bale at Tottenham.

Man City's best player is Yaya Toure, but they'd be alright without him. Manchester United would be ok without Robin van Persie. You look at Jack Wilshere at Arsenal, but they played a lot of last season without him and got in the top four.

Benteke and Suarez are the biggest things at their clubs and make the difference between a lot of positions in the league. I can't wait to see what happens by the time the season starts.

Aston Villa will face Liverpool exclusively live on Saturday Night Football on August 24. Only on Sky Sports can you watch 43 live Premier League matches between August and December including every club twice, nine derbies and the big head to heads between last season's top four.

Comments (30)

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Steven james Lamb (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Well Said David Walker, the beautifull game has now become a fastacle, money, not sport. Somebody is telling these player`s what to do, entertainment I think they call it, even the goalkeeper`s now are being told to palm or punch the ball back into the danger zone, grow up and catch it.

Posted 20:37 16th July 2013

Mike Ternan (Aston Villa fan) says...

I was about to go on about players who have scored around 20 goals and still gone down- Ravanelli 17(96-97), yakubu 17 (2011-12), then i noticed that not many players reach that magic number anyway. Point being that only few teams ever have those goalscorers but alot don't and still do ok in the EPL. Villa will survive without him as they haven't been relegated for god knows how long and we've only ever had Benteke, Angel and Yorke get close to 20 goals a season. the rest of the time they've done ok like 95% rest of the league. same with suarez and liverpool.

Posted 16:39 15th July 2013

Shahid Afzal (Liverpool fan) says...

Liverpool have performed without suarez. Although he will be a big loss for them it doesnt meant they cant get into the top four. Alot was said about rvp leaving arsenal and they managed. I think this year will be a big one for sturridge!

Posted 14:34 15th July 2013

Ian Williams (Liverpool fan) says...

suarez wants out of liverpool, i want him gone, is not worthy of our famous red shirt, lfc made suarez not the other way round, who is merson referring to when he says players want out left right and center?, suarez coments about the ivanovic incident are unreal, he made the rod that the media and everyone else is whacking him with, and he is quite right, if he had not decided to try and eat ivanovic, then he may well have won player of the year, had he not been racist, the media would indeed have been more focused on his skills, he wants out, then let him go, we are liverpool, we have replaced many great players over the years, ynwa, arsenal can have suarez merson, we at liverpool know what they are buying,

Posted 06:54 15th July 2013

Macca Mcg (Aston Villa fan) says...

I'm coming around to the idea that selling Benteke (and ridding ourselves of having to deal with his disruptive agent) and buying both Finnbogason and Castiagnos would be incredibly smart business. Villa won't sell to anybody unless they come out stronger for it, of that I am sure.

Posted 18:31 14th July 2013

Ron Cullen (Liverpool fan) says...

Merse, are you having a giraffe, your so bra and thong about suarez, lfc will be fine without him if he leaves and we"ll be even better when we spend the 40 odd mill we"ll get for him, no worries for me and for your views the price is now 50 mill, lol.

Posted 17:20 14th July 2013

Glenn Knowles (Liverpool fan) says...

I agree with merson about both players he mentioned,once a big club comes in your head start spinning and £25 million not worth that maybe £10 million as villa was no top club but he has been good for them. As for suarez,it is his fault and the media will pounce on that,he is making a big mistake in wanting to leave and what if it doesn't work out as they say the grass isn't always green on the other side so as a liverpool fan stay and your reward will come and you'll be remembered for the right reason but leave and the past will haunt you forever.

Posted 16:57 14th July 2013

Dean Maxwell (Liverpool fan) says...

Will be devastated when he leaves but will be appalled if he leaves for another english club. Love him but think his comments over the past few weeks have put liverpool fans through a lot.

Posted 13:06 14th July 2013

David Walker (Liverpool fan) says...

foreigners are ruining our game .rugby now is on the up .passionate fans and real men not like these wimps that play football now .football has lost its seems full of cheats and play acting and now it seems they are protected by the refs ,no one can touch each other and there all trying to get each other sent off this has ruined our game which for so long was box office stuff and a real mans game with other sports looking second best .The nineties started ruining football ,sky, foot ball agents and players looking huge sums of money and the small case of loyalty to clubs becoming extinct that were the problems started.foreigners who new nothing of our culture and came just for money and cared nothing for the fans, not all where the same but it started way back then.exitement in football is nearly dead.There only is a few teams that realistically can win the prem. . im totally disalusioned with the whole lot

Posted 11:32 14th July 2013

Villan Abroad (Aston Villa fan) says...

I think Paul Merson is a bit off the mark here for a so called 'expert'. Villa without Benteke will be in a relegation fight?!?!. A very bold statement a month before the season has even started! Is he just seeing exactly what happened last season minus Benteke, and assuming we'll go down? Everyone was saying last season that they hoped Villa would stay up because with that young, inexperienced team having a full season of experience behind them, they would fair much better this season. Add to that the 4/5 players we have signed SO FAR, and the fact that most of the current young players have 30+ Prem games under their belt now, I don't think it's exactly going to be just like last season. And I actually don't think Benteke is going anyway...not for another season at least.

Posted 07:26 14th July 2013

Tejveer Basi (Liverpool fan) says...

Yeah LFC can't cope without Suarez.... We can't cope with him at all that the record of us scoring more goals and conceding less goals without him in the team is better than the ratio of him being in the team. 1st half of the season we had a lack of striking options (which was our own fault)... as soon as we reinforced our team looked and played different... everything started clicking and we look solid but top 4 is a tough one this season with 7-8teams fighting for the top 4spots. Aston Villa can cope without Benteke too. They have been through a transitional period with loads of young lads who have now become men after this seasons relegation dog fight.

Posted 23:29 13th July 2013

Thomas Morton (Newcastle United fan) says...

I am a Newcastle fan and if I were a Aston Villa fan I would be a bit worried I know Newcastle appointing Joe Kinnear as director of football is a bit of a worry but if Aston villa sale benteke than They will have no strikers so they could really struggle in the premier league next season.

Posted 16:14 13th July 2013

Stephen Fisher (Liverpool fan) says...

Either way i don't think Liverpool will finish 4th but how can he say where he thinks they will finish without him without taking into consideration the amount of money they would get or who they would get to replace him i know he is great and just about Irreplaceable but a quality Finisher that isn't missing the first 6 GAMES!! can't compare?

Posted 13:50 13th July 2013

Misu Sudo (Liverpool fan) says...

I dunno why Suarez would want to move to Arsenal. They are not gonna compete for champs league or prem so in a couple of years he will have to move to a bigger club like Rvp. Liverpool are in a strong position and should hold out for 50mil. If Cavani is worth that much then so is Suarez. I reckon city and chelski would be interested. I think Liverpool can cope without Suarez and we are embarking on a long term plan with a lot of good youngsters coming through.

Posted 12:30 13th July 2013

Steve Hawkes (Aston Villa fan) says...

We do need to remember that Benteke is only a kid. Im sure anybody in the world after the season he had last year would be on cloud 9. Now all this talk of big money moves anybody in his position would be thinking about a big move to a top 4 club and his agent is only thinking about his fee. he needs somebody with more experience to put there arm around him and say its better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. I have no doubt in 2 or 3 years he will be playing Champions League at a top four club but somebody needs to sit him down and get him to see out at least another year at villa

Posted 11:22 13th July 2013

Anthony Bourke (Liverpool fan) says...

I'm big Liverpool fan and i hope suarez stays, because he owes the manager and fans for sticking with him threw everything and even do he being pool player for two and half years. He being suspended for 19 games that half a season and still cant play for first six games of new season. So i think Suarez should keep his mouth shut now and nuckle down and give his all for Liverpool coz he owes us big time.

Posted 23:38 12th July 2013

Mason Minister (Arsenal fan) says...

I think if Saurez goes to Arsenal we have a serious shot at winning the league.

Posted 21:23 12th July 2013

Pablo Miccoli (Liverpool fan) says...

Paul's right, it is a difficult one for Lambert but the overriding question for me would be, if we force him to stay will we get anywhere near 10 goals never mind 20 for the season?? An unhappy player is not a hungry player. Given the fact Benteke has asked to leave, then I don't think he has the fortitude to dig in and prove himself for another season to maintain his profile and move on in a years time. He appears to be the impatient, sulky type who believes all the hype about himself. One good season does not make a £25m striker...But if a team are willing to pay Villa that amount, then sell sell sell !!

Posted 20:50 12th July 2013

Dan Sidnell (Liverpool fan) says...

Paul, have you not seen Liverpool's performances without Luis Suarez? We play far better, more like a team, we do not rely on him, that is for sure. Sturridge has shown he can take his place by scoring 11 goals in 15 matches last season.

Posted 15:18 12th July 2013

Ashleigh Hardeman (Aston Villa fan) says...

i think benteke has got caught up in the heat of the moment and thats why he asked for a transfer i think if he sits down with paul lambert and his agent i think he will realise we are the club for him and he should stay with the claret and blues where he belongs

Posted 14:57 12th July 2013

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