Benteke is not leaving Aston Villa, says Lambert

The Scot has reiterated his desire to keep the Belgian striker, who has been linked with a host of summer suitors after an impressive debut season in the Premier League
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has quashed speculation linking striker Christian Benteke with a move away from the club in the summer.

The Belgian international has notched 15 goals for the Villans since his £7 million summer arrival from Genk, and has reportedly attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs.

However, Lambert is unmoved by such speculation, and is adamant that the 22-year-old will remain at the club for the foreseeable future.

“Christian is playing very well for us and that's the main thing. It doesn't concern me who he is linked with and who he is not linked with,” said Lambert at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.

"It proves he's doing well for me and doing well for himself. That doesn't interest me, what other people think. I don't read the headlines. I just get told.

"As far as I'm concerned, the guy is here and he isn't going anywhere until I say so or not really. That's the bottom line.”

The Midlands club have found themselves in a fight for Premier League survival for the second season running, with goals from Benteke contributing to just under half of their total league tally of 25.

But Lambert has warned the striker that he must continue to keep his performance levels up if he is to fulfil his potential.  

He continued: "He's a really top lad, really humble and, if he keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be a top, top player.

"The big lad has been phenomenal for us. He is 22, he has got so much to learn and so much to give
to the game.

"What he has done for this club, in the short time he has been here, he has got to sustain that, not just over a year - it has got to be for the rest of his career."