- Premier League
Benteke pens new Villa deal
Christian Benteke has withdrawn his transfer request at Aston Villa and agreed a new four-year contract.
The Belgium international had informed the club of his desire to leave earlier this month after just one season with the club, with Tottenham Hotspur emerging as a potential destination.
However, Villa manager Paul Lambert has worked overtime to persuade the 22-year-old that his long-term future remains at Villa and has succeeded in agreeing a new deal for the striker, who top-scored with 19 goals last season.
Benteke returned to training on Thursday, after being given an extended break by the club following a heavy workload this summer, and is believed to have agreed a new deal worth around £40,000-a-week, which was double his existing contract.
Villa had placed a £25 million price-tag on Benteke's head following his transfer request, but Lambert told the club's official website: "I had a full and frank discussion with Christian Benteke on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa.
"He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season. I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the club.
"It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go. Aston Villa is the best place for him to be and he realises that as well."
Benteke only moved to Villa for £7 million from Belgian club Genk a year ago and has been on the wanted list of a host of top sides following the impact he made in his first year in the Premier League.
Benteke is now determined to put the upheavals of the last few weeks behind him in what is a vital season for him in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa and to sign a new contract," he said. "This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans, who have always been right behind me.
"The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year."