Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has again called on star striker Christian Benteke to resist the lure of top Premier League clubs and sign a new deal extension at Villa Park.
The 24-year-old Belgium international, who joined Villa from Genk in a £8million deal in summer 2012, rediscovered his top form in the closing weeks of the season with 11 goals in the final 13 matches, helping the club guarantee their Premier League status.
The arrival of Sherwood as Paul Lambert’s successor in February coincided with Benteke’s goals glut, while it has also reignited rival clubs’ interest in prising him away from Villa in the summer transfer window.
Tottenham and Liverpool have both been linked with a bid for the powerful forward, while Sherwood confirmed on Friday that he has a “substantial” buy-out clause in his current contract, thought to around £32.5million.
If any club meets that figure then Sherwood accepts that it is likely that Benteke will depart, although he is planning to hold talks in the coming days in an effort to persuade him to stay put.
Speaking after Villa’s disappointing 4-0 FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday, Sherwood said: “I have told him I want him to stay.
“I want him to have a good season and score at the same ratio as he did when I came in here.
“I’m not sure what his plans are, he didn’t tell me either way.
“But I think it is right to talk to him about the speculation and put it to bed. We need to offer him a new contract, which the club are prepared to do, and he needs to sign it.
“When he does we know he’s not going anywhere.”
Villa are currently 5.00 to be relegated from the Premier League next season.