According to Sky Sports, Aston Villa have received no offers for Belgium international striker Christian Benteke, who has been linked with a move to a number of the Premier League’s top clubs this summer.
The Belgian international has a release clause of £32.5million in his contract and it seems that they are unwilling to allow the striker leave for less than his release clause.
At the moment it looks like he could prove too expensive for any prospective suitors this summer.
Benteke finished the Premier League campaign with Villa in good form, helping the Villans to the FA Cup final and Premier League survival. The Belgian has been a prolific scorer of goals in his three seasons in English football.
Last season Benteke scored 15 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions. In fact he has a scoring ratio of just under a goal every other game for the Villans, which for a striker in the Premier League is a pretty good record.
He has proven that he can score goals in the top-flight, even if the goals have come in purple patches in a certain parts of the season.
The 24-year-old seems to have all the attributes to become a top player at the highest level of the game. He is big, strong and has pace, all potent weapons in the Premier League. On his day he has the potential to scare any defence.
Even playing in a mediocre Villa team over the past few seasons he has scored lots of goals. Playing alongside superior teammates he could be even more effective.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been suggested as possible destinations this summer, with the trio looking to improve their attacking options ahead of the new season.
Liverpool are favourites to be the striker’s next club at odds of 11/8. Judging on the evidence of the Reds performances from last season they needed to add to their forwards options this summer.
Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli all struggled for goals last season, while England international striker Daniel Sturridge was hampered by injuries for much of the campaign.
However, the arrival of Burnley striker Danny Ings and Divock Origi returning to the club from a loan spell at Lille has strengthened their attacking options. Both players are likely to be decent additions to the Liverpool squad, but neither are particularly prolific in front of goal.
Despite being linked with a move for Benteke, it has been reported that the Reds may have been scared off by his price tag and have turned their attention to Sevilla’s Colombian international striker Carlos Bacca, who has a slightly lower minimum release clause of £21.5million in his contract.
Chelsea are another club being touted as a possible destination for Benteke this summer. Spanish international Diego Costa is undoubted first choice, but is a tad injury-prone.
Last season France international Loic Remy was his able deputy, producing eight goals, but could move on in search of first team football this summer. The Blues have of course allowed veteran striker Didier Drogba to leave the club after his contract expired.
The reality is Chelsea know that Benteke would not be first choice at Stamford Bridge and so does the player. In days gone by the Blues may have thought nothing of splashing out £32.5million on a substitute, but with the new Financial Fair Play rules that is a lot of money to spend on a player that could be warming the bench.
It seems the Blues may turn their attention to the less expensive option of signing Monaco striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan deal.
Manchester United have attacking options in England captain Wayne Rooney and Dutch star Robin van Persie. However, it seems that Van Persie’s future at the club is in doubt after a lukewarm campaign.
The former-Arsenal striker is being linked with a move to Turkey and that would leave the red Devils short in attack.
If Van Persie should leave Old Trafford then United boss Louis van Gaal’s attacking options would be limited to Rooney and youngster James Wilson, who is expected to be loaned out to gain first team experience next season.
No doubt Benteke would be a good addition to Van Gaal’s squad this summer, but whether the fee would be too much remains to be seen.
Benteke has put in a transfer request at Villa in the past, yet he is still at the club. It would be refreshing for the Belgium striker to turn ignore the rumours and speculation, stay at Villa Park and spearhead the Villa attack next season.
However, I have to say I would be very surprised if Benteke was still at Villa next season, as money talks and I am sure a club will come up with enough money to sign the Belgian this summer.
Where will Christian Benteke be plying his trade next season?
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