Football

Premier League big boys to fight it out for Belgium striker

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Arsenal will have to fight off interest from Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke this summer.

According to the Mirror, Paul Lambert faces losing his first-choice centre-forward at the end of the season as financial woes and poor form hit the midlands club.

The report claims Spurs have so far shown the strongest interest in the 22-year-old, but Arsene Wenger, Roberto Mancini and Brendan Rodgers all retain an interest and this could well spark a bidding war.

Benteke has impressed in his first few months of English football, scoring 11 goals in 25 games and is steadily improving.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently admitted a need to reinforce his forwards department and Benteke has been operating in a similar system to that being played at the Gunners.

The Belgian international has shown himself to be a physical presence against Premier League centre-backs and it can be argued champions Manchester City have lacked a player like that.

Edin Dzeko would be the closest resemblance to Benteke but the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker has struggled for consistency so far this season.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas insisted his shortage of strikers was not to blame for their embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Championshi side Leeds United.

However, Jermain Defoe remains the only senior centre-forward at White Hart Lane while Emmanuel Adebayor is in Africa Cup of Nations duty with Togo and was injured on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the report claims Liverpool are keen to add further firepower to their front line, despite already completing the signing of England international Daniel Sturridge this month.

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Premier League

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