Alan Hutton praises Christian Benteke's commitment to Aston Villa amid exit rumours

Christian Benteke Belgium

The Belgian striker has been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks.

Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton has praised Christian Benteke’s commitment to the club amid rumours linking the Belgian striker with a summer exit.

Hutton was speaking to the Daily Star following Villa’s 4-0 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal, which could well prove Benteke’s last appearance in a claret and blue shirt.

The former Genk forward finished the season with 12 goals in the final 13 games to help the club secure Premier League survival but his recent hot form has also led to incessant speculation regarding his future.

The likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are now reported to be after the in-demand front man, who manager Tim Sherwood revealed ahead of the cup final has a “quite substantial” release clause – believed to be £32.5 million [h/t Daily Mail].

Villa are said to be preparing to offer him a new £75,000-per-week deal which would remove the clause, or at least raise it [h/t Daily Mail], but agent Eris Kismet has since stressed that his client wants to make the step up to European football.

Nevertheless, Hutton insists that Benteke has made no indication that he intends to leave Villa Park in the near future and has been delighted with how he has conducted himself amid all the speculation.

“It's massive that we try and keep him,” said the Scot. “He is such a big figure for us. We really need him to stay and we hope he does. But at the end of the day it's his choice.

"He's never once spoken about [leaving] to any of the boys. He was totally committed to the team and it's pretty much out of his hands. Whatever happens in the future, we'll have to wait and see.

"I definitely hope he stays. Like I say, he's such a big player for us. It will be a massive loss if we were to lose him."

Benteke, whose current contract expires in 2017, declined to discuss his future following the cup final but did tell AVTV that he was looking forward to helping Sherwood’s Villa build on their recent improvement next season.

“Next season we will try to do better than this season,” he said. “We can look forward and try to build something strong.”

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