Former Villa striker fires friendly warning to fan favourite.
Ex-Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore believes Christian Benteke is playing with fire by handing in a transfer request at the club, talkSPORT reports.
The 22-year-old Belgian international handed in a transfer request on Monday as the squad prepared to head to Germany for a pre-season training camp and is now expected to be the subject of some heavy interest from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as a number of sides in continental Europe.
However, Collymore insists that the ball is in Villa’s court and Benteke could be making a big mistake should he find himself in Paul Lambert’s bad books.
“There is a World Cup coming up at the end of the season and Paul Lambert has a track record that, if you cross him, he is happy to leave you on the bench,” the former Villa striker said, speaking on the Sports Bar.
“The financial outlay that Villa pay every week in wages and the transfer fee they paid to Genk isn’t enough to stop Lambert – a man you wouldn’t want to cross – saying, ‘you know what, I have done well for you son and you have come in and done well for us, but if you start messing us around we will be quite happy to leave you on the bench and let Romelu Lukaku lead the line for Belgium’.”
Benteke bagged 19 league goals for Villa last season that saw them flirt perilously close to the relegation zone, but despite the impressive outlay Collymore warned that he still has plenty of rough edges to smooth over before he can be considered the finished article.
“To an Arsene Wenger, to an Andre Villas-Boas, to a Jose Mourinho, he is still an unknown quantity,” he said.
“Is he going to win the league for Chelsea? Probably not. Is he guaranteed to fire Arsenal to fourth and a place in the Champions League? Probably not. Is he going to get Spurs from fifth to fourth? Possibly, but you don’t know. He has had one good season in the Premier League.”