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Aston Villa to demand €42m for Liverpool target Christian Benteke

GOALEXCLUSIVE    By Greg Stobart     Follow on Twitter
Aston Villa will demand €42 million for Liverpool target Christian Benteke this summer.

Brendan Rodgers is a big admirer of Benteke and the Liverpool manager is desperate to improve his struggling strikeforce when the transfer window opens.

Benteke's agent claimed earlier this week that there is "no interest" in the Belgium striker but Villa are bracing themselves for summer bids.

Villans boss Tim Sherwood will urge the club to resist any offers for the 24-year-old, who has played a vital role in the club's Premier League revival and progress to the FA Cup final.

Manchester United and Tottenham have also been linked with Benteke but Liverpool are particularly keen to sign a striker with a proven record in the Premier League, with Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic also on the club's radar.

The Reds' four strikers - Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini - have scored just eight Premier League goals between them this season.

Benteke has netted nine times in eight matches since Sherwood's appointment, having only hit three all season under previous manager Paul Lambert.

And Villa will look to price their star forward out of a summer move with a €42m asking price for the former Genk man, who cost €10m when he moved to the Midlands in 2012.

Benteke has two years left on his current €62,000-a-week contract and his representative, Eris Kismet, said this week that he client is focused solely on Villa until the end of the season.

"At the moment, there is no interest," Kismet told Sky Sports. "Every player and staff member is concentrated on avoiding relegation, anything else is just a distraction.

"I know everyone wants the same thing because I watch the games and I think Aston Villa are playing the best football in England right now."