Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is planning to open contract negotiations with 19-goal striker Christian Benteke, after a prolific first season in the Midlands.

With media speculation strife that Benteke has linked with such teams as Borussia Dortmund, Lambert will be keen to tie-down the Belgian before some of Europe's biggest clubs begin to take an interest in the front-man. 

Without Benteke's 19 goals, Villa would have been further down the table, looking at the prospect of Championship football next season. 

Benteke's first season in English football has ensured that the ex-Genk man has attracted an array of admirers across the world. Because of this, Lambert is keen on thrashing out a contract deal whilst Benteke is happy at the club.

The ex-Norwich manager told Sky Sports: "Who has been linked now? I always knew it would happen. Christian and a few other lads are in my thinking. I don't know how much he's on. I leave the finances to other people. No, I know everything that's going on and exactly what's happening." 

Lambert will be one of many to know that without Benteke, Villa will have been in a far worse position without the Belgian, and the Scot was quick to point out Benteke's importance in the Villa front line this season. 

"Christian is one of a few who have been brilliant for us, collectively as a team and as individuals- they've been great. We're coming to the end of the season and yes, we'll sit them down and try to get things done," added Lambert. 

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