Christian Benteke is now just even money to be playing his football at Tottenham Hotspur next season after the Aston Villa striker sensationally handed in a transfer request late last night, while Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are also on red alert.
In a move that has angered the Villa hierarchy, Benteke has told the club he wants to leave after just one year at Villa Park, during which the Belgian international saw his reputation blossom. An excellent debut campaign in England yielded 19 Premier League goals as the 22-year-old became integral to the Midlanders’ successful battle against relegation.
But yesterday, Benteke shocked Villa manager Paul Lambert by handing in an official transfer request upon his return to pre-season training – leaving the club resigned to his departure.
A statement said Villa would “act” only on bids that met their valuation, believed to be in the region of £25million for a man they paid Genk just £7million for 12 months ago, but Lambert could not hide his displeasure at the latest development.
“We’re hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request,” Lambert said. “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.”
All of which has Tottenham as the favourites with bwin to land Benteke. Spurs are even money to capture the Belgian after missing out on David Villa yesterday, who moved to Atletico Madrid for just £4.4 million.
Chelsea have also been heavily linked with a move for Benteke after they, too, failed to land a long-term target, in this instance Edinson Cavani, and bwin go 2/1 that Villa’s No.20 is at Stamford Bridge next season.
Arsenal are 4/1 to land Benteke, with Liverpool, who may need a striker should Luis Suarez get his wish for a move away from Anfield, at 10/1 to capture the forward.
Aston Villa are 2/1 to hang on to Benteke beyond the end of the summer transfer window, while it is 25/1 and bigger that he signs for other clubs.