Greetings and salutations, Spurs fans. I'm writing to you from the Cartilage Free Captain watchtower near the #batcountry border. Dispatches from #batcountry is a daily series at Cartilage Free Captain where we examine ridiculous transfer rumors found on the internet and tell you why you shouldn't believe them.
Df#b took a short hiatus this past week, but I'm back, and can report that there's a fair amount of movement in the #batcountry jungle right now. Today's news has been somewhat... dyspeptic, between the new kits (spectacular!) and the David Villa and Leandro Damiao news (catastrophic!), but #batcountry usually succeeds in putting a smile to my face. Today's rumor comes from ESPNFC's "On the Move" blog, which printed a one-paragraph entry summarizing a similarly #batcountryish article from Guardian-Series.co.uk suggesting that Spurs are planning to make a cheeky £18m bid for Aston Villa's Christian Benteke.
But that's not the interesting bit.
ESPNFC goes on to say the following: "[Bentake's] buy-out clause is reportedly £20million, but Spurs are looking to test Villa's resolve."
Whoa whoa whoa WHOA. £20m release clause? Really? There's absolutely no reason why Spurs can't and shouldn't meet that release clause and make a good play for him. And that's exactly why this rumor is complete nonsense.
Christian Benteke is one of the hottest attacking commodities in the EPL. He's one of the brightest young strikers in the league, was a big reason why Villa escaped relegation this past year, and there are tons of clubs that would love to snap him up immediately. He's also got several years left on his contract with Aston Villa and is a key player on their team, which means that Villa has absolutely zero incentive to sell unless they get stupid money for him. That £30m asking price that you keep reading about? I believe it. They're doing the same thing with Benteke as what Spurs are doing with Gareth Bale – daring a big club to massively overpay for their best player. If some club comes along and makes an offer they can't refuse, then they'll probably sell, and laugh all the way to the bank. But don't count on that.
Consider this, as well: almost every EPL club will be flush with cash from the new TV deal, and in that context, a £20m buyout is small potatoes. That kind of cash is well within the reach of Tottenham Hotspur this year, which means that it's also probably within reach for just about every other EPL club. If Christian Benteke really had a £20m release clause in its context, there would already be five or six clubs that would've just ponied up the dough and met it. We wouldn't even be in the conversation, because a team like City, United, Chelsea, or Arsenal would've already made a bid and would be trying to convince him to come play Champions League football. Which makes the ESPNFC paragraph even more ridiculous. "Testing Villa's resolve"? Really? If there were a release clause, we wouldn't be wasting our time making cheeky bids just under it to a team that does not want to sell.
So where did this £20m release clause rumor come from? Well, probably from the wilds of #batcountry. I haven't found a single other source that states that Benteke has any sort of a release clause, much less one that low. Which means it's 99.9999999999% hooey. Someone pulled that figure out of the air, and now it's out there, and will probably become a thing, because the internet.
Benteke would be a fantastic addition to a Spurs side that is desperate for a striker. We all know this, but there are lots of reasons why he won't ever don a Tottenham shirt. If we want him, we'll assuredly have to pay through the nose to get him. £20m is cheap, and it won't happen at that price.