• Premier League

Benteke hints at move from Aston Villa

ESPN staff
May 23, 2013
Christian Benteke has been a revelation since signing for Aston Villa © PA Photos

Christian Benteke has given the first indication that he could leave Aston Villa this summer.

Benteke, currently on international duty with Belgium, has been reported in sections of the Belgian media to be considering a move to a bigger club after a season which saw him finish the Premier League's fourth top scorer with 19 goals, despite the club surviving relegation to the Championship with just a single game to spare.

And as he prepares for an international friendly against the United States, Benteke has been quoted by Nieuwsblad concerning his future at Villa Park in what seems to be the opening of an exit strategy this summer.

"If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won't necessarily accept that," he said. "I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career."

Villa have insisted they want to keep the 22-year-old striker and are prepared to reward him with a significantly improved contract - possibly doubling his current £25,000-a-week salary.

Manager Paul Lambert has described the striker as "world class" and intimated that the man he signed for £8million last year is now worth three times that, such has been his impact in the Premier League this season.

Preliminary talks over a contract extension have been held in the last few days, but Benteke has been allowed to head off for international duty without finalising a new deal.

His agent Eris Kismet said: "There were discussions with Aston Villa, but nothing concrete has been achieved at this moment. He is on duty with the national team and then we have to deal with it after that."

After being such a central figure at Villa Park, he would face a challenge to find the same amount of game time at a higher profile team, but that holds no concerns for him, even with the 2014 World Cup just a year away.

"Of course playing the World Cup in Rio is in my head. But I have no fear of falling out of the team. With my family I will decide where my future lies," Benteke added.

Arsenal, Tottenham, AC Milan and Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are among the teams reportedly interested in the striker.

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