• Premier League

Fiorentina join Benteke hunt

ESPN staff
June 6, 2013
Christian Benteke scored 19 goals in his debut Premier League season © PA Photos

Christian Benteke's status as one of Europe's most wanted strikers has increased with Fiorentina joining the queue for the Aston Villa striker.

The Italian club are preparing themselves for the loss of highly-rated striker Stevan Jovetic this summer, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and Tottenham all linked with the Montenegro international.

Fiorentina are resigned to losing Jovetic, despite placing a £25m price tag on their prize asset in a bid to ward off potential bidders, and it has emerged the club have been monitoring Benteke's situation at Villa Park.

"There were representatives of Fiorentina [watching Aston Villa] games at the end of the season. They are one of many clubs who have an interest," said the Belgian's agent Eris Kismet.

"But we are waiting to hold more talks with Aston Villa when Christian finishes playing with the national team and comes back from a holiday."

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham all want to tempt Benteke away from Villa Park, less than 12-months after his £7 million transfer from Genk.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert both return to work next week and setting up the meeting to finalise a lucrative new contract for Benteke is at the top of their list of priorities.

Benteke has three years remaining on his existing deal with the club and manager Lambert has made no secret of his desire to retain the services of the Belgium international and he has warned the 22-year-old that leaving Villa this summer might not be the right move.

Lambert feels a move to a high profile club this summer would hinder the player's progress and could damage his World Cup prospects.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Lambert said: "Christian is a top lad. But people forget that while he has the frame of a man, he's still a young man.

"He has been fantastic. As have a lot of the young lads, but a lot of these lads are still maturing. Any young player that moves, the pressure on them is high.

"If you take that gamble to move to one of these huge clubs, then you might not play as many games. That's the gamble.

"Footballers want to play the game, that's the big thing for them. If they are hungry enough to play, then that's half the battle."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.