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Dec 21, 2012

Lambert issues hand-off Benteke warning

Paul Lambert insists there is no chance Christian Benteke will be allowed to leave Aston Villa when the January transfer window opens.

Christian Benteke celebrates his goal for Aston Villa against Reading
Christian Benteke can be the best in the Premier League says Paul Lambert

Benteke has made a huge impact at Villa Park since his £8 million summer move from Belgian club Genk and a number of Premier League rivals have been linked with a move for the 22-year-old.

Arsenal and Liverpool, who also have an interest in out-of-favour Darren Bent, have both been linked with the striker and Villa have a recent history of selling their top stars.

Gareth Barry, James Milner, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing have all been allowed to leave the club in the last two seasons as Villa have been unable to fend off interest from bigger clubs.

But Lambert insists that the days of American owner Randy Lerner cashing in on top talent must end if he is able to move the club forward.

Especially in the case of Benteke, who Lambert believes can go on to become the best striker in the Premier League.

“There's no point in us even being here if it's a case of bringing people in and then letting them go,” Lambert said.

“What's the point in that? We're trying to build something here which can take a few years and you need good players with you to achieve that.

“There's no point in them coming for half a season or a year and then we let them go. That's not the right way.”

Rather than weaken his squad, Lambert has held discussions with Lerner about strengthening his squad next month and is understood to be trying to push through a loan move for Manchester City striker John Guidetti.

Guidetti is returning from an illness, which has prevented him from playing this season and is also wanted by Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill.

Lambert expects movement with his squad, as he looks to shed the likes of Stephen Warnock and Alan Hutton from his staff and said: “The plan is to look at strengthening the squad. I will talk and see what we have. I don't think you stand still. I think you've got to look to improve.”

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