• Premier League

Arsenal face competition from Atletico for Benteke

ESPN staff
May 24, 2013
Christian Benteke is admired at Atletico Madrid © Getty Images

Christian Benteke's agent says his client wants to play Champions League football next season, and an offer from Atletico Madrid would be studied closely.

English sides Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are all also reportedly interested in signing the Belgian international, 22, whose 19 goals in 34 Premier League games kept Villa safe last season.

Benteke's agent Kismet Eris, who according to AS watched Atletico win last weekend's Copa del Rey final alongside Colchoneros sporting director Jose Luis Caminero, told the Spanish paper that the La Liga club's interest was flattering.

"Benteke always wants to improve," Eris said. "Without a doubt he wants to play in the Champions League. The interest is flattering. At the moment there is no offer, but if Atletico put a proposal on the table of course we would study it."

Villa and Eris have reportedly begun talks to improve the four-year contract signed last summer when Benteke joined from Genk for £8 million.

The centre-forward, though, was quoted as telling DH while on international duty in the USA this week that he would be interested in discussing his future if a club like Arsenal made a direct approach.

"If the opportunity arises, I'm sure we can come to a compromise where everyone wins. But I have no problem to stay at Aston Villa," Benteke said

Eris reacted to those quotes by telling the Sun that Benteke should be a bit more guarded with his public comments when away with his national side.

"This always happens when he goes away with the national team," the representative said. "I would prefer he did not speak to journalists, but the Belgian team insist he does a press conference. If he was unhappy at Villa we would have seen that. But he is not."

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