LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Yossi Benayoun of Chelsea evades Mohamed Diame of Wigan Athletic during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on April 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
According to Matt Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail, Chelsea have offered Yossi Benayoun to Aston Villa only to see any move fall apart almost before it began thanks to the Israeli midfielder's wages, which currently stand at £75,000 a week through the next two years. One can see why a relatively small-market club like Villa would be reluctant to pay that sort of money to an oft-injured midfield player, but with the issues that that's team's having in midfield, it was probably worth Chelsea dangling Benayoun in front of them and seeing how they'd react.
I still think Tottenham Hotspur is Benayoun's most likely destination, but we've had reports linking him to Lille, Arsenal and Liverpool over the last few hours, so either he's in high demand and everyone is asking for him or he's not and Chelsea are leaking everything in order to drum up some interest. He's a pretty good player, if not a great fit for this club, so I'll go with option one here, especially because he's likely to go for just a few million pounds.
As an aside - it's really interesting how wage structures work at different clubs, and easy to see why Chelsea are so disliked. Benayoun's wages at Villa would stick out like a sore thumb, be on the high end at Arsenal or Liverpool and fade into the 'average' region for Chelsea and Manchester City. It's also interesting to see how wages increase with career length rather than with actual ability - which is why a youth movement is so important for the Blues. A younger player could do Benayoun's job for a fraction of the cost.
7500 to Holte, meanwhile, is questioning just why Villa can't afford Benayoun after all of those player sales this summer. They may well have a point.