Paul Lambert feels Christian Benteke will be an Aston Villa player next season if the club retain their Premier League status.
Belgium striker Benteke has been the subject of fevered speculation in recent weeks, amid rumours he will move on at the end of the season.
The striker’s representatives have fuelled the fire with suggestions that he will look to move onto a higher level in the Premier League, and Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with potential summer moves.
Asked ahead of this weekend’s game with Arsenal whether Benteke will stay if the club retain their top-flight status, though, Lambert said: “Yes. I don't have a problem with that at all. As far as I'm concerned, the guy is here and he isn't going anywhere until I say so or not, really. That's the bottom line.”
Lambert knows Benteke has the potential to become a leading light in the game and he has been hugely impressed in the way the striker has coped with the spotlight on him in recent weeks.
“Christian is playing very well for us and that's the main thing. It doesn't concern me who he is linked with and who he is not linked with,” he added. “It proves he's doing well for me and doing well for himself. That doesn't interest me - what other people think. I don't read the headlines. I just get told.
“He's a really top lad, really humble and, if he keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be a top, top player. The big lad has been phenomenal for us. He is 22, he has got so much to learn and so much to give to the game.
“What he has done for this club in the short time he has been here, he has got to sustain that. Not just over a year - it has got to be for the rest of his career.”
Lambert recently said it would take more than double the £8 million Villa paid Genk to take Benteke away from Villa Park.