Aston Villa will allow striker to leave ‘within an appropriate timeframe’.
Chelsea and Tottenham target Christian Benteke has handed in a transfer request at Aston Villa, the midlands club have confirmed.
Villa departed for their pre-season tour of Germany this week without the Belgium international.
Benteke enjoyed a stunning debut season in the Premier League for Paul Lambert’s side, bagging 21 league goals after arriving from Genk for £7m last summer.
The Villa Park club had hopes to tie down the 22-year-old to a new contract which would double his £20,000-a-week wages but the forward now looks set to depart if Villa can agree a fee with a suitor ‘within an appropriate timeframe’.
A Villa statement read: “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.
“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 pre-season which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen.”
It is understood the forward wants to play first team football with a bigger club ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer.
Lambert has expressed his disappointment at Benteke’s decision, but the Scot remained hopeful that the player will stay at the club.
The Villa boss said: “While we’re hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request, it’s important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that.”