Premier League quartet told to forget about signing Villa Park forward.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have all been told to forget about signing striker Christian Benteke in the summer if Aston Villa avoid relegation from the Premier League.
The four Premier League clubs are considering bids for the Belgian international, who has been a revelation since arriving into the Premier League in an £8million transfer from Genk in the summer despite Villa’s struggles this season.
Benteke’s form in scoring 15 times for Villa attracted the attentions of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham among other clubs with reported £16million offers being prepared for the 22-year-old at the end of the season.
But Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has told the four Premier League clubs they can forget about making an offer to sign Benteke should he manage to guide the Villa Park club to safety in the top flight.
“Christian is playing very well for us and that’s the main thing,” Lambert is quoted as saying by Sportinglife. “It doesn’t concern me who he is linked with and who he is not linked with. It proves he’s doing well for me and doing well for himself. That doesn’t interest me, what other people think. I don’t read the headlines. I just get told.”
He added on whether Benteke will stay: “Yes. I don’t have a problem with that at all. As far as I’m concerned, the guy is here and he isn’t going anywhere until I say so or not really. That’s the bottom line.
“He’s a really top lad, really humble and, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be a top, top player. The big lad has been phenomenal for us. He is 22, he has got so much to learn and so much to give to the game. What he has done for this club, in the short time he has been here, he has got to sustain that, not just over a year – it has got to be for the rest of his career.”
Benteke has kept Villa team-mate Darren Bent out of the team for most of the season with the £24million England striker having been forced to settle for a place on the bench and bit-part roles this season.
Villa slipped back into the relegation zone on Saturday after going down 2-1 at Arsenal with Wigan’s 3-0 victory at Reading moving them up to 17th place on goal difference.