The positive side of Christian Benteke’s injury for Aston Villa 0

Christian Benteke has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will, having had successful surgery, be out of action for anything up to six months.

Given the forward’s value to Aston Villa, that’s going to be very difficult news for the fans to take and, already without Libor Kozak, it creates a real problem for Paul Lambert during these last seven games of the season. And spare a thought for the player: within touching distance of his first World Cup, he’ll now be resigned to watching that talented Belgian side with the rest of us.

That will be very tough for him, you wouldn’t wish that on any player.

But, in a greater context, maybe this isn’t such a catastrophe for Villa; they are already almost safe from relegation, and Benteke will presumably be fit again shortly after the beginning of next season. More importantly, though, it essentially guarantees that he will be part of Lambert’s side for another year at least.

The World Cup is, as we all know, a big shop window and many transfer-deals will be concluded off the back of what happens in Brazil. Certain teams and players rise to the occasion, and reputations can be greatly enhanced over the course of single month.

If I’m a Villa fan, I’m not devastated that Benteke is staying away.

Belgium are talented and the chances are that they will do very well in South America - and with Benteke penciled-in to lead their line, he was in a great position to turn some heads during June and July. Had he done that and had one of big European clubs developed an interest as a result, Villa would probably have lost him before next season.

When Villa avoided relegation last year, the expectation was that some of their players would mature this year and that the team would progress. That hasn’t really happened. This is still a young side, and one which can be both terribly naive and overly-reliant on Benteke. Whilst the Belgian hasn’t been the presence this year that he was last, you would still hate to think where Villa might be now without the ten goals he’s scored this season.

This is hypothetical, of course, but another year of development and this team may well be better equipped for life without Benteke - additionally, after another season of benefiting from the hugely-generous broadcasting contract, Randy Lerner might be willing to loosen the purse strings a bit and display the ambition that would be required to keep the forward for the long-term.

No, this isn’t a good thing to have happened, but it does buy Villa some time and it probably has bought them another season from their biggest asset.

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