Tim Sherwood reveals Aston Villa might have to let Christian Benteke leave because of a buy-out clause in his contract.
Tim Sherwood has revealed Aston Villa might have no choice but to let Christian Benteke leave this summer because of a buy-out clause in his contract.
The Crystal Palace starlet is likely to be the subject of several bids this winter after a series of impressive performances in the Championship earned him a call-up to the England squad. Arsenal look the natural front-runners to secure his signature with Robin van Persie's void still prominent, Theo Walcott's future uncertain and Arsene Wenger's record of nurturing young talents. However, given the 20-year-old's enormous potential, we also consider Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and even Real Madrid to be in the running.
Favourites: Real Madrid
Bale's future has attracted speculation ever since he announced himself on the European stage with his electric performances in the Champions League two seasons back. With Tottenham likely to be reluctant to allow one of their Premier League rivals obtain the Welshman's services, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona head the betting. Luka Modric's plea for Bale to join him at the Bernabeu has seen odds on a move to the Spanish capital cut, although Andre Villas-Boas has since quashed talk of any such deal.
Speculation has been rife as to where Beckham will be heading next following his decision to leave LA Galaxy. The former England captain was initially expected to make a move to the A League in Australia, with Melbourne Heart installed the initial front-runners to secure his signature. However, PSG were then backed into favourites following confirmation that the French outfit were interested, while money is also coming in for Monaco amid suggestions of preliminary talks. QPR now head the betting to secure the 37-year-old's lucrative signature with Harry Redknapp refusing to rule out a move.
The Colombian striker will be near the top of the shopping list of any club with the financial clout to tempt Atletico Madrid to part with his services. Fernando Torres' continued troubles in front of goal have prompted talk of a move from Chelsea, with a part-exchange deal mooted. The Blues head the betting by some distance, while Manchester City are naturally linked with any world-class player along with fellow big-spenders PSG.
Speculation over Bent's future has hit the headlines as Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert continues to prefer Christian Benteke up front. Liverpool's lack of options other than Luis Suarez saw them installed as the initial favourites to sign the 27-year-old but QPR, who have had Bobby Zamora ruled out for three months, now head the betting as they look to turn around their fortunes. Fulham have also been backed to sign the England striker.
The Brazilian attacking midfielder is attracting plenty of attention thanks to his impressive displays for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Tottenham head the betting with Andre Villas-Boas thought to be a keen admirer, while Chelsea, whose style of football should perfectly accommodate the 24-year-old, are second favourites. The main stumbling block in any move is likely to be Shakhtar's reluctance to let their star man leave, with the Ukrainian giants in a very healthy state financially and harbouring big ambitions.
We've seen significant money for Downing to head back to Middlesbrough with a loan deal considered the most likely option. The England wideman has, however, has been used at full-back of late with Luis Enrique preferred on the wing, which is surely just a stop-gap solution until Brendan Rodgers can draft in a more suitable option. The 28-year-old's confidence looks low at the moment and a fresh start is surely needed to resurrect his career. Everton, QPR, Aston Villa and Sunderland are also considered in the betting.
Speculation surrounding Ba's future will continue as long as the £7.5m release clause remains in his contract. Liverpool are the clear favourites to secure the Senegal striker's signature with Brendan Rodgers openly on the look-out for attacking reinforcements. However, Chelsea might well see Ba as the perfect man to relieve some of the goal burden from Fernando Torres, while his ability to run the line solo offers added appeal. Tottenham and Arsenal are also in the betting but look unlikely to make moves after securing alternative frontmen in the summer.