By the middle of yesterday afternoon, Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of avoiding double relegation and facing an inevitable winding-up order seemed all but dashed after key striker target David Villa agreed a deal to take his soul patch over to Athletico Madrid instead of North London, which is much more of an affordable place to live and has far fewer distracting beaches and periods of nice sunshine. Then, by midnight last night, they had been suddenly rekindled as news filtered through that another of our targets, 22 year-old Belgian Christian Benteke, had put in a transfer request and refused to join his club Aston Villa on their German pre-season tour. This morning, we awoke to a multitude of reports that Spurs is in fact Benteke's favourite club in the whole world and he's already rubbished any speculation that he may instead move to Chelsea by buying a house and starting a family down here. Well, not really, but close enough.
Here's London-based Belgian correspondent Kristof Terreur:
Daily Mirror chief football writer Matt Law:
Daily Mirror sports writer James Nursey:
And just for kicks, some thoughts from former Villa player Stan Collymore:
If Villa had to stick my neck out, I'd say Spurs. Need strikers, he'll play a lot, good creativity, London. Chelsea have bigger fish to fry.
If Villa had to stick my neck out, I'd say Spurs. Need strikers, he'll play a lot, good creativity, London. Chelsea have bigger fish to fry.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) July 8, 2013
All of these links, of course, don't take account of the power of cold-hard cash which our West London rivals can offer Benteke by the JCB-full. What Benteke wants as a player can and most probably will melt away to irrelevance if and when he finds himself with an Abramovich cheque dangling under his nose. Outside of that caveat, however, it's nice to know at the very least that Benteke doesn't seem totally opposed to a hypothetical move to Tottenham; should we find ourselves entering into the race for Benteke and not swept aside by gallons of oil money, it seems by all accounts that Spurs stand an excellent chance of nailing down their man.