As Arsenal get ready to face Aston Villa in the Barclay’s Premier League today, there has been some talk surrounding Villa striker Chirstian Benteke who recently revealed that he would love to play for Arsenal.
The 21 year old perhaps did nothing to endear himself to Villa fans, however when asked about him, Arsene Wenger surprisingly revealed that Arsenal had looked at the player.
We have looked at him but we had already signed Giroud who had a clause in his contract, so that was an easy decision.
While it’s not clear what clause Wenger is talking about, it is unusual for Arsene to reveal players he has been interested in the very recent past.
Benteke signed for Villa in the summer for £7m from Genk, however he sees the club as merely a stepping stone to bigger things, saying
Arsenal are the club I love. I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides that, they had Thierry Henry. For me he is the best player in the world and was my boyhood idol.
I’m not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal. One can say worse things. I’m a Villa player for now. They’re the right club at the right time.
When I joined Villa I didn’t know where they played. I thought they were a London club.
Wenger was also full of praise for Giroud, saying
He still has some work to do but he convinces you about something more than just his game. It’s his overall attitude. He is a fighter, he is ready to have a go and he is genuine. You don’t cheat people on that, people smell that in the stands.
That’s why I feel he is accepted, not just because of his game but he is really genuinely committed on the pitch. He has the characteristic of a centre-forward I like in England – complete commitment, capability to win balls in the air and fighting attitude.
[UPDATE – I also came across these quotes from Benteke:
“Thierry Henry was my favourite player. Every young player has an idol they look up to. For today’s kids, it’s Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. For me it was always Henry, he’s a class act. When I was 10, I went on holiday to London to visit my mum’s sister and I went to Highbury to watch an Arsenal game.
“I loved the Invincibles because they had a lot of great French players like Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira. Arsene Wenger says he might sign Henry again on-loan in January. It would be great to play against him because I’ve so much respect for him but it’s not an obsession.
“Saturday will be the first time I’ve faced Arsenal but don’t be fooled. I’ll do everything to beat them and, if we do, it’ll be sweet. You can like a team but, if you face them, you must beat them.”