Aston Villa media round-up: Manchester United in pole position for Benteke, Chery deal on hold

A selection of stories in the media involving Aston Villa over the last 24 hours…

Liverpool’s pursuit of Christian Benteke may be under real threat after Manchester United’s interest was claimed yesterday.

The Sun reports that United are hopeful of tying up a deal before the end of the week, with the Red Devils seemingly more willing to meet the Belgian’s £32.5 million release clause than Liverpool.

Benteke added fuel to the United rumours by favouriting a tweet linking him to an Old Trafford switch, as reported by HITC.

His reasons for doing so are unclear and while it could be a tongue-in-cheek reference to how United fans view him, it could also suggest an appreciation for their interest.

Meanwhile, Villa’s pursuit of FC Groningen winger Tjaronn Chery appears to have hit a snag, with his agent claiming the club have not followed up their initial interest.

Speaking to Voetball International, his agent said:

“There was also serious British interest. But after we had turned down an offer [from Villa], we have not heard anything.”

Former Villa defender Ron Vlaar is set for a switch to Lazio, according to the Daily Mail.

The Dutchman is out of contract at Villa and unlikely to sign a new deal, but the Italian club reportedly want to iron out concerns over his fitness before making their move.

Tim Sherwood has revealed his difficultly in shipping out unwanted players while targeting another four arrivals this summer.

In quotes published by the Daily Mail, Sherwood said:

“When you have players at the club who are on big money and enjoying the environment they are in, it’s hard.”

“I’m not blaming the players - the club gave them the contracts, it’s not their fault - you just have to hope they have the opportunity to move elsewhere.”

Away from the pitch, Villa have secured the services of former Arsenal executive Hendrik Almstadt, as per the club’s official site.

The 40-year old German becomes Villa’s first ever sporting director after his four-year stint at the Emirates and appears thrilled by the prospect, stating:

"I can't wait to start my new role at Aston Villa.

"It is a club with huge potential, a rich history and deep roots in Birmingham, the Midlands, and within English and European football.

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