Aston Villa fans received some bad news ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup final, with manager Tim Sherwood revealing that the club could have no choice but to let Christian Benteke leave this summer due to a release clause in his contract.
Quoted in the Daily Mail, Sherwood confirmed for the first time that Benteke’s deal contains a purchase clause – believed to be set at £32.5 million – which could trigger a move if met.
The Belgian striker, 24, has been in hot form during Villa’s run-in, bagging 12 goals in the past 12 games to help the club secure both Premier League survival and a place in the cup final.
However, his impressive performances have also served to increase speculation surrounding his future, with Liverpool understood to be the favourites to land his services.
Sherwood stressed that his star man has given no indication that he intends to leave Villa Park in the near future but did concede that the club face the prospect of losing him, admitting: “There’s a buy-out clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go.
“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.”
According to the Mail, Villa have been made aware that Liverpool plan to place a bid for Benteke and that the in-form forward would be open to moving to Anfield due to first-team assurances, a significant wage increase and the allure of European football.
As expected, news of the clause and potential deal has had both sets of supporters talking on Twitter, with the following being just a few of the reactions to what could be one of the biggest moves of the summer transfer window.
Not sure yet about paying the buyout clause for Benteke. Seems expensive but then again the guy is a beast when fully fit. #LFC— Louis Hervik (@louisnorway) May 29, 2015
As things stand Liverpool isn't good enough for Benteke. Despite what they may think. #avfc— Charlie Bailey-Gates (@MT_Jim) May 28, 2015
If #LFC meet Benteke's release clause... I'm lost. So many better options out there at that price. Clyne at 12m will work nicely though.— Ben Spicer (@spicer81) May 28, 2015
All fans who think Benteke is another Carroll or Balotelli , just dont know their football . Benteke is a totally different player . #LFC— Zaid Shahin (@Dr_ZaidShahin) May 28, 2015
Benteke has scored 42 goals in total in the prem. 13 of these were headers & 6 pens. Not bad for someone who is only 'good in the air' #LFC— Dan_94 (@Dan1Davies) May 28, 2015
Benteke should only be pursued if the fee is 14m anything above seems excessive considering other world class players suit #LFC better— Shamas شماس (@inFamousKingz) May 28, 2015
I still think Benteke will stay. He can score 25+ under Sherwood next season, and guarantee himself as Belgium starter for Euro 2016. #AVFC— Daniel Bevington (@DanBevz) May 28, 2015
If we've got £32.5 to spend on a single payer then no way is Benteke the best option ... It's Andy Carroll all over again #lfc— Leyton Mark (@SerLeighton) May 28, 2015
It is what it is with Benteke. If he stays, great - if he goes, I'll wish him well. Just hope he picks the right club when he does go #avfc— Cian Carroll (@CianByName) May 28, 2015
I'm thinking Sherwood knows Benteke's going & is pushing him for one last big game. Not sure his make-up suits that strategy. #avfc— crowiejnr (@crowiejnr) May 28, 2015
Benteke crazy £32.5m for him must say, so many top draw CF'S out there and LFC are will to pay that amount on him crazyyy.#LFC— Raz2fast (@raz2fast) May 28, 2015
Not sure about Sherwood's timing in revealing Benteke's buyout clause 48 hours before cup final. Why? #avfc— crowiejnr (@crowiejnr) May 28, 2015
#LFC If truely we are willing and ready to pay £32.5m for a striker, Christian Benteke should'nt be first on our list.— #ThanksStevie (@LFC_NO10) May 28, 2015
I like Benteke he's a talent but we'd never play to his strengths & that's absolutely absurd money which we haven't got to spunk away. #LFC— Fahad.A (@LFC4LIFE_786) May 28, 2015
Tbh, £32.5m is about right for Benteke. And £32.5m could work wonders on our squad as well. Just a shame it's before the final #avfc— MattVillan (@dvtavfc) May 28, 2015