Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has told Liverpool target Christian Benteke to stay another year and earn a move to Real Madrid, reports the Daily Mirror.
The Belgian has scored 16 goals in 36 appearances this season, including 13 in 17 since the former Tottenham boss took charge. He has been a major part of the 46-year-old’s successful efforts to drag the Villains out of the relegation places.
This has led to rumours that he could make the move to Anfield, with the Reds in need of a forward after struggling to score this season. The signings of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli haven’t been enough to replace the departed Luis Suarez and it has told, with the Merseyside club slipping from second to fifth and out of the Champions League qualification places.
However, with the European Championships coming up in just over a year the 24-year-old may not want to risk his place in the Belgium squad by moving to another club. Were he to struggle elsewhere it may mean that manager Marc Wilmots looks at players such as Everton’s Romelu Lukaku or Liverpool’s Divock Origi to lead his line like they did in the last World Cup.
Sherwood also thinks he could earn a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid! The outspoken manager said: “I don’t think he should be moving clubs the year before a European Championship. The European Championship is a huge stage and a tournament, where you feel Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it – and playing for Aston Villa hasn’t hindered him being first choice for Belgium.
“So to stay here and score at the ratio he’s been scoring at since I took over, if he ends up with 25 or 30 goals, then goes to the Euros and has a great championship, then he is probably going to be playing for Real Madrid. If he scores 30 goals here next season, he can go the biggest club in the world – and the kid is that good.
“But all he has to do is look at the history of players who have left clubs thinking they’re going to greener pastures and they think it’s going to be bigger and better but they don’t actually play and they end up looking for another home.”
He added: “We cross more balls into the box than any club in the League and I think Christian would say that he feeds off crosses. There is no point him going to a club where they don’t cross the ball. Liverpool are still a huge football club but it is up to the individual to make a decision, I can’t make it for him, I want him to stay here.
“There’s a buy-out clause in his contract so it would be impossible for us to stop him if he wanted to go but someone has got to meet that buy-out clause and if they don’t, then it’s not even going to be considered because we don’t want to lose him.
“I think the clause is £100 million! Most players have them these days. I don’t know the exact figure but it will be quite substantial. He has made no indication that he wants to leave. We haven’t had that conversation.”