Leandro Bacuna trying to convince Aston Villa teammate Christian Benteke to snub likes of Liverpool

The Belgian striker has been linked with a £30 million move to Anfield in recent weeks, with Chelsea and Manchester United also reported to be circling.

Aston Villa right-back Leandro Bacuna has told Sky Sports how he is doing his best to try to convince the in-demand Christian Benteke to stay at the club this summer.

Benteke, 24, has returned to top form under Tim Sherwood’s stewardship following a slow start to this season, bagging 12 goals in the past 12 games to help the club secure both Premier League survival and a place in the weekend’s FA Cup final.

Now over the aftereffects of the ruptured Achilles which hampered his performances during the winter, the Belgian striker’s name is back in the headlines and linked with a whole host of clubs.

Top-flight rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all reported to be after his signature [h/t Daily Mail], with a £30 million fee said to be enough to lure him from Villa Park.

Liverpool is believed to be his likeliest destination at present, but the imposing front man will be going nowhere if teammate and former neighbour Bacuna gets his wish.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Wembley showpiece against Arsenal, the Dutch utility man revealed how the pair have even spoken about snubbing a big-money move amid the speculation, while adding that he believes his close friend would rather be the main man at Villa than risk settling for a lesser role elsewhere.

"We had a small conversation and I said 'imagine you want to leave for a big club'. At Villa he's the big man," said Bacuna. "Maybe if he goes somewhere else you are not going to turn into a big man. So it's going to be his opinion. Yes [I am trying to persuade him to stay].

"When he was injured [with a ruptured Achilles last year] he went to Belgium. I kept a connection with him, to speak to him, I was worried about how this operation was going so we talked.

"And when he came back he had a tough time, like with small pains, but when he got going he started to score goals.

“Fabian Delph helped him as well, saying 'keep moving, keep going', anything to give him confidence and as you can see when he got confidence he was scoring again.

"Together you can have a positive thing, you can go to the next one, you can do anything you want."

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