Aston Villa have confirmed that striker Christian Benteke has handed in a formal transfer request and is eager to leave Villa Park this summer.

The news broke from the official club website late on Monday evening, and in their statement they admitted that they will be prepared to sell the Belgium striker as long as the offer is acceptable and realistic.

It has been suggested that the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City are all interested in the 22-year-old and all four clubs will now be buoyed with the news that the striker wants to leave this summer.

Benteke signed for Villa last summer from Genk for a fee estimated around £7m and he is now expected to be sold for around £25m after he scored 19 goals in the Premier League in his debut season in England.

The club released a formal statement this evening and have revealed that Benteke has handed in a transfer request, but they also denied the claims that the striker refused to join the club in Germany for a pre-season tour.

The club 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."

Villa boss Paul Lambert has revealed he is upset with Benteke's decision but still believes the striker will stay at the club.

Lambert 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."


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