Who should replace Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke for Belgium?
Christian Benteke, the Aston Villa striker, is out for the World Cup in Brazil with a ruptured achilles tendon. That’s a big blow for Belgium and gives head coach Marc Wilmots a massive headache. You could argue that Belgium shouldn’t complain with Romelu Lukaku on the bench surely he should just step up and take over, but Wilmots’ tactics require a striker more like Benteke. Unfortunately for Wilmots, we don’t have a similar striker so Wilmots will have to make some important decisions in the near future. Benefoot gives you a summary of the strikers from which Wilmots will have to pick his replacement from.
1. Michy Batshuayi from Standard Liège
The Standard Liège striker has probably the most chance to win a ticket for the World Cup in Brazil. Batshuayi has so far played a fantastic season with Standard and already scored 18 goals. He’s another type of player like Benteke but Batshuayi wants to feel the ball a lot and has more dribbling skills than Benteke. The latter is a target man and the former more a complete striker. Batshuayi also has more talent than Benteke had at the same age.
The striker is linked with many clubs and it’s certain that he will leave Standard this summer and while you could say that this year’s World Cup is maybe a bit too early for Batshuayi, I disagree. This is the perfect moment for Batshuayi to learn from the more experienced players and show his potential.
2. Divock Origi from Lille OSC
In Europe, and even in parts of Belgium, Origi is still an unknown, raw diamond. Since the beginning of 2013, Lille fans already know how big the potential of Origi is; the young striker is similar to Michy Batshuayi. It’s unlikely that Marc Wilmots will take Origi to Brazil but he’s at least worth a mention in this article and no doubt Wilmots will send some scouts to Lille’s next games.
Divock Origi, son of Mike Origi who played most of his career in Belgium, moved to Lille in 2010. The youngster always played for Racing Genk but thought that a move to France would help him to become a better player. He made his debut in 2013 and started to impress this season and certainly the last couple of months. Definitely another Belgian player to watch.
3. Ilombe Mboyo from KRC Genk
If the World Cup had been this time last season then everybody would have picked Ilombe Mboyo to replace Christian Benteke. The striker had an amazing season with KAA Gent where he did everything seemingly by himself. It was impossible to steal the ball from the strong, gifted striker, and he also had an eye for scoring goals.
Mboyo moved last summer from KAA Gent to KRC Genk and things were never the same for him. He suffered with a lot of injuries this summer and the moment he was fit his team started to struggle, him included. We all know that he can do better than what he’s performing at the moment but that will not be enough to convince Wilmots to pick him as Benteke’s substitute.
4. Jelle Vossen from KRC Genk
Jelle Vossen is the only player from the five attackers I mention who isn’t a real striker or number nine. Why do I mention him than as a potential replacement for Benteke? He’s a player who gives you more possibilities in your tactical choices as a coach. Marc Wilmots could maybe make some changes now after the loss of Benteke. Jelle Vossen would be a perfect fit with Romelu Lukaku. The Chelsea-loanee from Everton doesn’t like to play deep, with Vossen he would have more space to do his thing.
Jelle Vossen is also in a similar situation as Mboyo. Racing Genk are desperately looking for their best form but everything they do ends in failure. Marc Wilmots still has some months to take his decision but it’s unlikely that he will pick a player who is out of form. Some great matches from Jelle Vossen could bring him back on Wilmots’ radar.
5. Tom De Sutter from Club Brugge
Tom De Sutter is the only player with the same style like Benteke. The striker of Club Brugge is also a target man and can head the ball well. The question is if De Sutter has enough quality to show the world this at the World Cup. We probably already know the answer before but he’s one of the options Wilmots could go for.
De Sutter’s career has been something of a roller coaster, after some great seasons with Cercle Brugge De Sutter moved to Belgian giant Anderlecht. He was never able to become the number one striker of Anderlecht but nonetheless he was important for the club. Last summer Tom De Sutter moved to rival Club Brugge and this season he’s the number one striker of Michel Preud’homme’s team. Not really because of his scoring but because of his hard work.