x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Transfer talk: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke wants to leave

Belgium international, who was fourth-highest goal-scorer in English Premier League last season, helped Villa escape relegation.

Christian Benteke scored 19 goals for Aston Villa last season. Glyn Kirk / AFP
Christian Benteke scored 19 goals for Aston Villa last season. Glyn Kirk / AFP

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa's Belgium striker, has asked for a transfer and will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer is made, the English Premier League club said in a statement reported by British media on Monday.

Benteke's 19 league goals last season, following his move from Belgian club Racing Genk on a four-year deal for a fee of about £7 million (Dh38.4m) in August, helped a struggling Villa side avoid relegation.

Paul Lambert, the club's manager, was quoted by the BBC as saying he still hoped the 22 year old, who was fourth-highest scorer in the Premier League last term, would stay at Villa Park.

"While we're hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request, it's important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that," Lambert said.

Benteke, who has been linked with several clubs including Villa's Premier League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, has not travelled on the Midlands side's pre-season tour to Germany because he has been given extra time off until July 18.

"Having received his transfer request, we have also informed him that should we receive an offer within an appropriate timeframe during pre-season which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen," the club said in a statement on the BBC website.

"He was reminded that there are three years remaining on his contract, we consider him to be a Villa player and expect that he will be with us for the 2013/14 season."

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