A round of the latest news stories and transfer rumours connected to Aston Villa.
Aston Villa have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Nuremburg star Hiroshi Kiyotake. Paul Lambert’s club have already seen an £8.5 million offer for the player turned down and the Bundesliga club are standing firm over their player, with reports they will reject an improved £10 million offer.
A more realistic transfer which looks likely to happen involving Aston Villa is the departure of Darren Bent. Bent is the subject of a tug of war between Newcastle United and Fulham, with Fulham boss Martin Jol hinting his club are still interested despite reports suggesting Newcastle are in the driving seat.
Meanwhile, the club’s star striker Christian Benteke has thanked the fans for their support and has urged them to continue, following his U-turn over apparent desire to leave the club earlier this summer.
“I feel good at Villa. I feel at home here. I love the fans. Their support means a lot. I have signed a new contract and I want to do something good for this club. Everybody in the dressing room is excited,” said the Belgian.
Benteke even seems to have set himself a target ahead of the new season, which is to score more goals than he managed in the last campaign. He managed 23 goals in all forms of competition for Villa last season and says he is aiming to surpass that number.
That would seem to rubbish reports that the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal could still realistically try to sign Benteke ahead of the new season. Arsenal may miss out on Luis Suarez and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers seems ready to cast him aside, which means both clubs will be looking for a forward.
The fans don’t seem to believe for one second that Benteke will leave after signing a new deal, which is proved by the fact that Benteke is selling the most shirts this summer at the club alongside Austrian star Andreas Weimann.
Benteke will start the season as the club’s main striker but Paul Lambert has hinted Nicklas Helenius is ready to step in when needed. The gaffer has praised the impact Helenius has had since he joined the club, citing his vision and awareness as two of his best attributes heading into the season.
Those comments have been echoed by new signing Antonio Luna who says it will be special to step out at Villa Park in front of a packed crowd. Luna is hoping to start in the club’s final pre-season friendly against Malaga this weekend and he says it will be exciting to play at Villa Park.
The boss has tried to curb that excitement and enthusiasm, reminding the club’s fans and critics that Villa still have a very young squad, suggesting it’s important they aren’t placed under too much pressure.
“These boys have a great future ahead of them, but they are just boys - They have had a fine time pre-season, but they need to learn the man's game,” said Paul Lambert.
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