Aston Villa deny reports linking Benteke with Arsenal

The 21-year-old had been quoted as saying he would be interested in a move to north London, but Paul Lambert believes that the striker's words have been misconstrued
Aston Villa have denied reports attributing quotes to Christian Benteke saying that he is targeting a move to Arsenal.

The 21-year-old striker has impressed for the Villans since his £7 million (€8.7m) move from Genk, netting twice and contributing two assists from just six Premier League appearances but reports on Friday attributed quotes to the Belgium international revealing his interest in a move to the Emirates.

“Arsenal are the club I love," The Sun quoted him as saying. "I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides, they had Thierry Henry.

"For me he is the best player in the world and was my boyhood idol. I’m not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal.

"One can say worse things. I’m a Villa player for now. They’re the right club at the right time. When I joined Villa I didn’t know where they played. I thought they were a London club."

However, the club have moved to distance their player with the quotes, with manager Paul Lambert expressing his belief that his player's words have been taken out of context.

"I've been in the game long enough, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it but I'm pretty sure he's been misrepresented a little bit there," Lambert told the club's official website.

"I wouldn't put too much credence into it - things can be misconstrued. I think it's naughty what has been done.

"The big guy is more than happy here. He's playing really well and he's happy the way he is.

"He's still a kid and he's only been in the country a couple of months but the fans have taken to him here and rightly so.

"Everyone has a team they've always followed or players they looked at. If he had an idol he looked up to, I'm sure he's not the first and he won't be the last.

"I think if you ask any footballer, there's always a team or a player that they follow and that's not any danger to anybody.

"When the story says that he didn't really care if he upset Aston Villa fans, I think that's very naughty.

"Christian has a real work ethic and a real team ethic and he's delighted the way the fans have embraced him here, as they have with the team which they understand is a young team and it will grow."