Aston Villa set Benteke price tag as Bent exit looms

Aston Villa have given the first indication that they could willing to discuss a summer transfer of Christian Benteke by placing a £25 million price tag on his head.

The Belgian striker enjoyed a stunning debut season in the Premier League following a £8 million pound move from Gent scoring 19 goals and been short listed for the young player of the year award.

His goals proved vitals in the club’s successful fight against relegation and Villa boss Paul Lambert was keen to build his side around the 22 year old.

However with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool all hovering around the player the club’s ability to hold onto the player was always going to be tested during the summer transfer window and the indication are that Villa could be willing to do business, for the right price.

That price is £25 million although it is unlikely to deter the trio all of whom will have money to spend to land the right target. Benteke currently earns £40,000 a week and he could expect a significant pay rise should he move.

Lambert would prefer the player to stay and with a world cup looming would guarantee the 14 times capped Belgian International a regular starting berth, something that may not be assured at other clubs.

One man who will leave the midlands this summer is Benteke strike partner, Darren Bent. The former Sunderland striker has been linked with a move to Newcastle in recent days but with Crystal Palace, Hull and Fulham all in the frame the 29 year old has options.

Bent has been frozen out of the Villa Park picture and is free to leave the club this summer with Lambert ready to take a big loss on the £24 million they paid in 2011. A fee of £8 million has been mentioned in the press but despite the interest of the aforementioned quartet no bid has been made yet for the England striker.

Bent, who has also played for Spurs and Charlton, only made 13 starts for the club last season although he still managed 6 goals including 3 in the Premier League.

Trevor Keane is an Irish based sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls, the Dave Langan Story.