Aston Villa striker Benteke hands in transfer request

The powerful striker helped Paul Lambert's struggling side avoid relegation to the Championship with 19 league goals last season, and he is now looking to move on.
Aston Villa has confirmed that striker Christian Benteke has handed in a transfer request.

The Belgium striker is reportedly being courted by Chelsea, and he is keen to challenge for the Premier League title and play Champions League football.

Benteke has proven to be a favorite at Villa Park after scoring 19 league goals in his debut season to help stave off the threat of relegation, but he has now expressed his desire to leave Villa Park and will not partake in the club's preseason preparations.

"In response to reports that Christian Benteke has not travelled to Germany with the club and has made a transfer request, we can confirm that both are accurate," an Aston Villa statement read. "For clarity's sake, however, he had already been given extra time off until July 18 and was reminded that there are three years remaining on his contract.

"We consider him to be a Villa player and expect that he will be with us for the 2013-14 season.

"Having received his transfer request, we have also informed him that should we receive an offer within an appropriate timeframe during preseason which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen."

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