Spurs have stepped up their interest in the 22-year-old but will not offer more than £15m, while Liverpool & Chelsea are also considering bids after the Belgian asked to leave
By Greg Stobart
Tottenham are unwilling to meet Aston Villa’s £25 million asking price for wantaway striker Christian Benteke.
The Belgian requested a transfer on Monday as he seeks to force through a move away from Villa Park, but the Midlands club are determined not to be held to ransom for their star attraction.
Spurs have stepped up their interest in the 22-year-old after missing out on David Villa, who has completed a move to Atletico Madrid, but they are not willing to offer more than £15m to get their man.
As revealed by Goal last month, Liverpool have also made an enquiry for Benteke, who is seen as a potential replacement for Luis Suarez, while Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is preparing a bid for the former Genk striker who scored 19 Premier League goals last season.
Spurs are considered favourites to land Benteke, but Villa will hold out for maximum return on the €8.1m they paid to sign him on deadline day last summer, while he also has three years remaining on his contract.
All three clubs are willing to offer Benteke a huge rise on his €23,000-a-week salary at Villa Park and the forward is keen to raise his profile in a World Cup year.
Benteke, who was due to be given an extended summer break, was withdrawn from Villa’s pre-season tour to Germany this week after expressing his desire to leave, with the club stating that he will only be sold if a bid meets their £25m valuation.
Tottenham have already broken their transfer record once this summer, to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for €20m, and are hoping Villa lower their demands amid concerns Benteke needs another season to prove himself and lacks the required movement to become an elite striker.
But Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is keen for a forward to lead the line as he targets a top-four finish next season, while his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers considers Benteke a viable replacement should Suarez push through a move away from Anfield.
Chelsea have the funds to finance a deal for Benteke and are ready to make a move after a frustrating summer in which they have missed out on Radamel Falcao, while Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski also look set to join other clubs.