Aston Villa forward Nicklas Helenius has expressed disappointment over Christian Benteke’s desire to leave the club.
Benteke handed in an official transfer request earlier this month, with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham having been linked with a swoop for his services.
The Belgian, who scored 19 goals in his debut season in the English top flight, has subsequently been absent from the club’s pre-season trip to Germany – Helenius’ first experience of life with Villa since his switch from Aalborg BK.
And, despite his own first-team prospects potentially receiving a boost from Benteke’s seemingly imminent departure, Helenius still hopes to play alongside his fellow frontman.
“We have not been given much information about why he is not joining us for pre-season, but apparently he has put in a transfer request,” the Dane told The Birmingham Mail.
“It is down to the club and player how they want to handle the situation. It is not something that I take much joy from even though it improves my chances.
“We need the strongest possible squad for the upcoming season and I was looking forward to being in the same side as Christian Benteke.
“In that respect it is sad what is happening around Benteke as he was definitely one of the players that I was looking forward to observing and learning from.”
Helenius has scored goals in two of Villa’s three pre-season games in Benteke’s absence.