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Sherwood hoping for Benteke stay

Aston Villa F.C. manager Tim Sherwood believes keeping star striker Christian Benteke at the club would benefit both parties.

Aston Villa F.C. manager Tim Sherwood believes keeping star striker Christian Benteke at the club would benefit both parties.

The Belgium international, 24, has bagged 15 goals and three assists in 32 appearances in all competitions for Villa this season, including 12 goals in his last 11 matches.

“It would be crucial for us for him to stay next season and beyond that,” Sherwood said.

“I believe it is a very poor time to leave, just before a European Championship or World Cup.

“He could go to another club, be a bit part player and then fall out of the squad for Belgium – who may be favourites to win it.

“Marc Wilmots [Belgium boss] is pleased he has got back in the team recently and is firing on all cylinders. They can only benefit from that.

“I think it is a gamble for anyone to leave before a Championships – I honestly believe that.

“If you are settled somewhere and scoring goals and the idea is to stay in the international squad and go there on form, then better the devil you know than you don’t.

“Is he guaranteed to play anywhere he goes? Look at strikers at some clubs? [Radamel] Falcao, [Mario] Balotelli, all big money strikers, new environment, it is hard, it takes time to settle.”

According to reports, Benteke is attracting interest from English Premier League giants Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United ahead of the re-opening of the transfer window in July.

Braida: Pedro will stay

FC Barcelona sporting director Ariedo Braida has revealed Pedro will not leave the club in the summer.

The Spain international, 27, is the subject of reported interest from the likes of Chelsea, Internazionale Milano and Liverpool after being kept out the starting XI by attacking trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar this term.

When asked about Pedro, Braida told FcInterNews.it: “He’ll carry on as a Barcelona player, he’s incredibly important for us and he won’t leave. He has a contract to continue at the Camp Nou and will do, even more so given the FIFA sanction. I don’t think we’ll change our minds in January, he’s an important player.”

In addition, Braida hinted the Catalan club are interest in Internazionale midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

He added: “At the moment I can’t say anything, there’s nothing definite at the moment, but I can’t deny that he’s [Kovacic] a player with the qualities we like.

“The rule is clear, Barcelona can’t sign in the summer transfer window, but that doesn’t stop us seeking verbal agreements looking to January.”

Sat 16 May, 2015
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