Agent: Fiorentina keen on Benteke
Christian Benteke's agent has confirmed to ESPN FC that Fiorentina have joined the queue for the Aston Villa striker.
Fiorentina are preparing themselves for the loss of highly-rated forward Stevan Jovetic this summer, with Juventus and Arsenal among the sides linked with the Montenegro international, and it has emerged that the Italian club have been monitoring Benteke's situation at Villa Park.
Benteke's agent, Eris Kismet, has confirmed that Fiorentina sent their top scouts to check on the Belgium international during the last couple of weeks of the Premier League season.
"There were representatives of Fiorentina during games at the end of the season,” he told ESPN FC. “They are one of many clubs who have an interest, 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 prise 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 after short holidays, and top of their list of priorities will be setting up the meeting to finalise a lucrative new contract for the forward.
Benteke has three years remaining on his existing deal with the club and Lambert has made no secret of his desire to retain the services.
He has also warned the 22-year-old that 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."