Thursday 27 October 2016

Liverpool make £32.5m bid to trigger Christian Benteke's release clause

Liverpool are going to make their move for Christian Benteke
Liverpool are going to make their move for Christian Benteke

Liverpool have made a £32.5million bid to trigger the release clause in Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke's contract

But having been given the green light to spend, boss Tim Sherwood must try to ensure Christian Benteke stays at Villa Park.

In reality, there is little the club can do to stop the Belgium international leaving should a side activate his release fee clause, reported to be £32.5million.

Sherwood and Villa remain firm he will not leave for less, and the manager remains bullish about the striker's future.

"I think he stays," Sherwood told Sky Sports News HQ.

READ MORE: Liverpool to sign Christian Benteke after triggering £32.5m release clause

"I think Liverpool - I looked the other day - have six or seven strikers at the club.

"Now I'm not sure how many they actually need. We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him.

"If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that."

Fabian Delph is already staying, having made the surprising decision to reject Manchester City and remain at Villa Park.

The midfielder, who signed a new four-year contract in January, was on the brink of an £8million switch to the Etihad earlier this month before having a change of heart.

"I'm not leaving. I'm staying at the football club and I can't wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club," he said in a statement.

Sherwood confirmed in July that a takeover had fallen through, leaving owner Randy Lerner still in charge, although the American is expected to step down as chairman.

Lerner, though, has given Sherwood the chance to spend, and he has brought in Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye on a four-year deal.

"He's been one of the best young midfielders in France for the last few seasons and there were a lot of teams trying to sign him this summer," Sherwood said.

"I believe we are signing a player who is hungry to succeed, is entering what should be his best years and is perfectly suited to the Premier League."

Micah Richards signed from Manchester City after his contract expired at the Etihad, while keeper Mark Bunn joined from Norwich on a free transfer to replace Shay Given who left for Stoke.

Ray Wilkins joined Sherwood's backroom team as his assistant, and ex-captain Ron Vlaar left after his contract expired.

Villa's £24million record signing Darren Bent was released, ending a four-year spell at the club, while Andreas Weimann joined Derby and Matt Lowton moved to Burnley.

But, despite their exits, Sherwood, who replaced Paul Lambert in February and guided Villa to 17th in the Barclays Premier League last term, is still eyeing a further clearout ahead of the first game of the season at promoted Bournemouth on August 8.

"I think we still need to get rid of five, six, or seven maybe," Sherwood added to the Birmingham Mail.

"But I know how difficult it is - it's not easy.

"When you have players at the club who are on big money and enjoying the environment they are in, it's hard."

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