Benteke hints at Aston Villa exit
Christian Benteke has given the first indication that he could be prepared to leave Aston Villa this summer as Europe's top clubs look to lure him away from Villa Park.
Benteke is on international duty with Belgium and has been reported in sections of the Belgian media to be considering a move to a bigger club.
Villa's 19-goal Premier League top scorer has been a sensation in his first season since his £8 million transfer from Genk and has attracted interest from club's including AC Milan, Arsenal, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund over the last few months.
As he prepares for an international friendly against the USA, Benteke has been quoted by Nieuwsblad concerning his future at Villa in what seems to be the opening of an exit strategy this summer.
"If Aston Villa says I must stay, I won’t necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn’t get the most out of my career," he said.
Villa have insisted they want to keep the 22-year-old striker and are prepared to reward him with a significantly improved contract - possibly doubling his current £25,000-a-week salary.
Manager Paul Lambert has described the striker as "world class" and intimated that he is worth in excess of £30 million, such has been his impact in the Premier League this season.
Preliminary talks over a contract extension have been held in the last few days, but Benteke has been allowed to head off for international duty without finalising a new deal.
"There were discussions with Aston Villa, but nothing concrete has been achieved at this moment. He is on duty with the national team and then we have to deal with it after that," his agent Eris Kismet said.
After being such a central figure at Villa Park, he would face a challenge to find the same amount of game time at a higher profile team, but that holds no concerns for him, even with the 2014 World Cup just over a year away.
"Of course playing the World Cup in Rio is in my head. But I have no fear of falling out of the team. With my family I will decide where my future lies," he said.