Chelsea’s hopes of signing Christian Benteke from Aston Villa have taken a boost after the forward declared that he would be willing to leave the Midland’s club – as long as it was for a team in the Champion’s League.
Liverpool have been the club most strongly rumoured to sign the Belgian international, but his latest statement has looked to put any move to the Merseysiders in severe jeopardy. The 24-year-old said, “My agent knows my ambitions”.
Chelsea are meant to be big admirers of the Belgian striker as they look to bolster their attacking options heading into the 2015-2016 season. Reports suggest that he has a £32.5 million release clause in his contract with Villa that Jose Mourinho might well be tempted to trigger.
There have also been suggestions recently that Diego Costa isn’t happy living in London and might try to force a move away from the Blues this summer. The Spanish newspaper Marca is suggesting that the Brazilian born Spanish international isn’t pleased with the rainy weather, the language barrier and the poor weather in the UK and would favour a move back to Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho has moved to dismiss the reports, but it is still food for thought for the Chelsea hierarchy as they look to ensure Chelsea are able to offer a firm defence of their title next season.
If Costa does stay in London then it will give Benteke food for thought, given that he is currently Chelsea’s first choice striker. The Belgian knows that, if he wants to play for his country at the 2016 European Championships, it’s vital that he gets plenty of game time – something he’s not guaranteed at Stamford Bridge.
Benteke said, “It is important to play. If you want to be your [country’s] first eleven [then] you have to play in your club”. He continued, “I did my season with Villa and now I am focussed on the national team”.
Benteke was signed from Genk for just £7 million 3 years ago and caused some controversy when he handed in a transfer request in order to try to force through a move from Villa to Spurs two years ago. This time he is happy to avoid any further controversy and wait for teams to come to him. He said, “My agent…knows what I want and I’ll let him do the job. I don’t think about Aston Villa now”.
If Chelsea want to push ahead with the signing of Benteke then Tim Sherwood is adamant that they’ll have to pay the full amount of his release clause in order to get him. Before the FA Cup final the Villa manager said, “There’s a buy-out clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go. But someone’s got to meet that buy-out clause and if they don’t it won’t be considered, because we don’t want to lose him”.