Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all linked with signing of Aston Villa ace, but preposterously huge price tag could dissuade bids.
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has attracted plenty of attention for his incredibly quick adaptation to the Barclays Premier League this season.
Having signed in summer 2012 from Belgian side KRC Genk for £7m, the 22 year-old has proved a revelation.
19 goals so far in his debut campaign in English football are a fantastic return, and it is no shock that rumours have begun to surface of both a new contract at Villa Park, and a move to a club competing in Europe next season.
The likes of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have been linked with a summer swoop for Benteke, but Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has sent a bullish message to any interested clubs.
In anticipation of a summer bidding war, the Scot says that offers for the Belgian international begin at a monstrous £25 million.
“He is hot property,” Lambert told the BBC.
“If you wanted to prise Christian away from here you would want a sizeable cheque, that is for sure.
“He has the potential to be fantastic. If you look at modern day figures then £25m is probably a good start.”
Benteke has had an excellent season, and compared to the traditional target men in the Premier League such as Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll, he is decidedly more mobile.
However, whether his value has soared to between three and four times what Aston Villa paid for him after a single season of Premier League football remains dubious.
Still, if he does move on this summer, there is no doubting Benteke’s preferred destination.
“Arsenal are the club I love,” Benteke was quoted as telling the Sun in November 2012. 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.”