Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood wants Christian Benteke to stay at Villa Park next season but insists he will not prevent the player from leaving in the summer.
The Belgium international, 24, has recently been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United, with reports suggesting United are in the best position to sign the 24-year-old when the transfer window re-opens in July.
Although Sherwood would hate to see Benteke, who has bagged eight goals in his last seven English Premier League appearances for 16th-placd Villa, leave the club, the manager has revealed he would not stand in the striker’s way of securing a dream move, as long as the club’s valuation for the player is met.
“It’s good news that people are talking about Christian again because he’s scoring goals and if he’s scoring goals for us, we’re happy,” said Sherwood.
“I’ve no idea what he’d cost, because I don’t want to sell him. It would have to be a lot of money for anyone to take him from us.
“He’d be too expensive for a great deal of clubs in the Premier League. But we’re not looking to sell our assets and he’s certainly one of those.
“If a player doesn’t want to play for the club anymore and the club he wants to go to meet the valuation then I think it’s always best to let them go.”
Sherwood added: “He’s enjoying his football and I saw some positive things said by his agent, saying he had not talked to other clubs or seen any interest from other clubs and that Aston Villa were playing the best football out of any team in the league.
“I think he was spot on there.”
Despite reaching the FA Cup final, Villa–having won just one of their last five league matches–are just two points clear of the relegation zone, with Saturday’ home fixture against in-form Everton rapidly approaching.
In other news, Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has given Nathaniel Clyne ten days to decide his long-term future.
“We are still speaking with Clyney and his agent, but we have to know it in 10 days now,” Koeman said. “The club is doing and offering the maximum we can do, then we expect the decision of the player.
“I have spoken to Clyney. He is very happy. Maybe there is some interest, I don’t know because nobody has really had a bid for the player, but if I read the press then maybe there is some interest.”
Clyne, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, is reportedly being monitored by Manchester United.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the Saints have already looked into the possibility of replacing Clyne with Paris Saint-Germain right-back Gregory van der Wiel.