By Wayne Veysey
Liverpool and Tottenham have made enquiries for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, Goal understands.
The Premier League big hitters are both prepared to offer the Belgium international a bumper rise on his current £20,000-a-week terms this summer as well as a major playing role.
Liverpool are believed to have registered their interest in Benteke as they prepare for the possible departure of Luis Suarez, with Real Madrid leading the chase for the Merseysiders' prize asset.
|4/1||Christian Benteke is 4/1 with BetVictor to join Tottenham
Spurs have also targeted Benteke as they prepare to reinforce a front line that was found wanting last season. The Londoners have currently dropped their interest in No.1 target Leandro Damiao and turned their attention to high-calibre alternatives.
Benteke had an outstanding debut campaign in England after signing for Villa last year in an £8 million deal, scoring 19 top-flight goals to help maintain the club's Premier League status.
The 22-year-old has three years remaining on the contract he signed 12 months ago but there is a growing acceptance among the Villa hierarchy that they are vulnerable if the powerhouse forward pushes for a move.
Villa manager Paul Lambert revealed recently that Benteke has been offered an improved contract but his future remains in doubt while it remains unsigned. Borussia Dortmund are also closely monitoring developments.
Speaking during the international break at the end of last month, Benteke admitted he may demand a transfer this summer. "If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won't necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career."
Asked about the possibility of joining Arsenal, who had been linked with a move for him, the striker said: "If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I'm convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner."
It is understood that Benteke would be attracted to a move to Anfield but he might have to bide his time as the Suarez saga could drag on all summer.
Spurs are looking at other striker alternatives, including Barcelona's David Villa, Saint-Etienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Roma's Pablo Osvaldo and Porto's Jackson Martinez.