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The wantaway Belgian striker returned to pre-season training at Bodymoor Heath on Thursday as the Villans continue to negotiate with Spurs over a proposed transfer

By Greg Stobart

Christian Benteke has returned to pre-season training with Aston Villa as he continues to push for a transfer away from the club.

The 22-year-old submitted a written transfer request last week and Villa are locked in talks with Tottenham over a deal for the Belgian striker.

Villa still want over €25 million for Benteke, who scored 19 Premier League goals last season, while Spurs are reluctant to reach an agreement worth more than €23.2m for a player who has spent just one season in England.

Benteke has his heart set on a switch to Spurs and would triple his €23,000-a-week salary if he completes a move to White Hart Lane.

But he returned to training at Bodymoor Heath on Thursday amid the threat of a two-week fine by Villa boss Paul Lambert, who allowed his star man to miss last week’s trip to Germany.

Liverpool have also made an enquiry for Benteke while Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho retains an interest in the forward, who went on strike last summer to force through his €9m transfer from Genk.

Benteke is understood to have first indicated his preference to move to Spurs several months ago, with the north London club stepping up their interest after losing out to Atletico Madrid in the race to land David Villa.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas wants his squad for the new season in place early as he looks to mount a challenge for a top-four finish.

Brazil international midfielder Paulinho has arrived from Corinthians in a €20m deal while the club are also looking for a left-back and a versatile winger.

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