Aston Villa can’t stop me leaving, says Arsenal and Tottenham target Benteke

Christian Benteke has insisted that if he chooses to leave Aston Villa this summer – with Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur monitoring the situation closely – the club will not be able to stop him, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Villa have consistently stated Benteke is not going anywhere and while the Belgium striker did not say he wanted to leave the Midlands, he intimated he was open to offers from elsewhere if they were for the good of his career.

Benteke said: “If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won’t necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn’t get the most out of my career,” in comments widely reported in the Belgian press.

But Villa are understood to be unconcerned by the forward’s remarks, as he is under a long-term contract and would command a hefty transfer fee – the Mirror claims he is valued at £30m, twice Arsenal’s existing transfer record and substantially more than Spurs have ever paid for a player. The North London club’s respective landmarks are £15m for Andrei Arshavin and £16.75m for Luka Modric.

Villa are also keen to tie down Benteke to an extend contract but will wait for the player to return from international duty. The fresh terms set to be offered to the 22-year-old, a £7m signing from Genk last summer, will greatly increase his weekly wage, in an effort to ward off interest from Atletico Madrid as the La Liga club look for a replacement for Radamel Falcao.

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