Aston Villa have reiterated that they will not be forced into selling star striker Christian Benteke this summer.
The Belgian international rediscovered his best form under Tim Sherwood in the latter part of last season and has been touted as a target for Liverpool and Manchester United during the transfer window.
Benteke has made noises that he would like to move to a club with Champions League ambitions and has stated that his agent is in charge of his future, with the player saying Kismet Eris “knows what I want”.
Villa have remained steadfast, insisting they will not be forced to sell the 24-year-old while he has two years remaining on his existing deal at the club.
Villa chief executive Tom Fox has now confirmed they intend to offer Benteke an improved deal.
“We are obviously going to offer him a new contract in the summer. He’s a fantastic player and one of the top strikers in the Premier League and I think he is someone who is recognised around the world as one of the top strikers,” Fox said.
Fox hopes the flourishing relationship between Benteke and Sherwood late last season can be decisive in convincing the player to stay at Villa.
“He has got a good relationship with everyone at the club. I know him and Tim have a great working relationship, so our hope is we can keep him,” Fox added.
“I know he’s got two years left on his deal as a starting point, so I am fairly certain we can have him back next year if we want.”
Aston Villa are 5.00 to be relegated from the Premier League next season.