Aston Villa are powerless to stop Christian Benteke leaving the club, with manager Tim Sherwood revealing the Belgian striker has a buy-out clause in his contract.
Sherwood and some of his playing squad have gone public in bids to convince Benteke to remain at Villa, amid interest from rival Premier League clubs after the international ended the season with 12 goals in as many matches.
But Sherwood appears to be preparing for the worst heading into Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley, telling reporters: “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 £100million. 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.”
One of the clubs reportedly interested in the 24-year-old are Liverpool, but Sherwood believes Benteke can do better if he stays in Birmingham for another season.
“We’re building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage for Christian, and a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it,” he added.
“By playing for Aston Villa it hasn’t hindered him being the first choice for Belgium up to now. If he were to stay here and score at the ratio that he has since I took over, and ends up with 20 or 30 goals next season and then has a good Euros, he is probably playing for Real Madrid [in 2016].
“Christian could go to the best club in the world if he scores 30 goals next season. He could be that good.”
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