Villa to bolster with Benteke
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert looks set to bolster his strikeforce with the signing of Genk striker Christian Benteke, ESPN can reveal.
Benteke, 21, has been linked with a move to Fulham in recent weeks, but a £4 million offer from Villa looks set to clinch his signature and the Belgium international will be charged with forming a potent scoring partnership with Darren Bent.
The forward fired 16 goals for Genk last season and has already been on target in the opening few weeks of this new campaign, with his arrival at Villa Park set to be a huge boost to Lambert after a difficult start to his reign has seen him lose his first two games in charge against West Ham and Everton.
Despite that poor start, the new Villa boss is refusing to hit the panic button and after signing Ron Vlaar and midfield player Karim El Ahmadi from Feyenoord and Matt Lowton from Sheffield United already, the Benteke deal confirms he is being given healthy financial support from Villa chairman Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner
"There's not a magic wand in this job, but we have got to win games and if we don't do that then clearly it becomes a problem," Lambert said. "We will not have a quick fix, but it's something where you don't want to be left behind. However, I have to say the chairman and Paul (Faulkner) have been great in their support."
Next on Villa's shopping list is a new left back and Ipswich's Aaron Cresswell is on Lambert's radar, with Stephen Warnock's future at the club increasingly uncertain. "There are few [left backs] out there I'd be interested in," Lambert told ESPN. "I can't talk about anyone else's players but there's a few. Cresswell? He's one of about 54 I'm looking at."
The Benteke deal will take chairman Lerner's investment in Villa to well over £250m since his arrival at the club in 2006 and despite negative publicity in some sections of the media of late, this latest addition is evidence of the American owner's continued commitment to the midlands club.