Tim Sherwood realistic about Christian Benteke's Aston Villa future

The Belgian has given no indication that he wants to leave but his manager won't stop him from doing so if he is not 100 per cent committed.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has stressed that he won’t prevent Christian Benteke from leaving the club if the striker does demand a move in the summer.

Sherwood was speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, when he’s hoping that his star man can take advantage of a weakened opposition defence to earn his side an upset win.

The Belgian struggled in front of goal over the first half of the season upon returning from a ruptured Achilles, netting just three times in 18 games, but the new boss’ appointment has since led to a stunning turnaround.

Eight goals in the past six matches have helped the club go six points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone but also seen speculation surrounding his future resurface, with the Daily Mirror reporting interest from AC Milan and Wolfsburg following last week’s hat-trick performance against Queens Park Rangers.

Benteke himself has since addressed the rumours, declaring that nothing will be decided on his future until the summer, and Sherwood insists that he has given no indication that he is planning to head elsewhere.

However, the Villa boss is adamant that he doesn’t want players at the club who aren’t 100 per cent committed and accepts that he might well have to cash in on his services if the in-form front man asks for a transfer.

“We don’t want to sell our best players but I also want players who want to stay at the football club,” said Sherwood.

“He’s made no indication to me that he wants to go elsewhere but if he does then we’ll have to assess the situation.

“But for sure, we want to keep him at the club. He’s one of our biggest assets and certainly affects the game on a football pitch at the moment.

“You can’t force any player [to stay]. I’ve been there myself – once they want go somewhere, you might as well take the money, otherwise you’ll be without both.”

Benteke has scored 45 goals in 94 total appearances for Villa since signing from Genk in August 2012 but attracted criticism from fans following his impressive debut season after handing in a transfer request, amid the BBC’s reported interest from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

He withdrew it just two weeks later, however, in order to pen a contract extension until 2017, but one gets the impression that the club are in for another testing summer in their bid to hold onto him.

In essence, Villa find themselves in a no-win situation – if his goals continue to fire them out of trouble then interest is bound to increase, while if the worst comes to the worst and relegation happens then he is almost certain to be off.

Will Benteke still be at Villa next season?
Yes, but he won't be happy about it
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