Christian Benteke stunned supporters by penning a new deal with Aston Villa.

The Belgian ace, aged 22, had handed in a transfer request in early July. However, having re-evaluated his future and having held talks with Villa manager Paul Lambert, Benteke has decided to remain at Villa Park.

Benteke had been granted extended leave until the 18 July, before he had handed in a transfer request.

Yesterday, Benteke returned as planned to the club's Bodymoor Heath training complex. It was during showdown talks with manager Paul Lambert that Benteke was persuaded to reaffirm his commitment to the Villains by signing a new four-year contract.

Speaking after the announcement, Lambert said: "It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa. He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season."

Lambert called for backing from the stands, stating his belief that fans would also be delighted by the news, adding: "It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go."

Benteke has now withdrawn his transfer request and regards himself as "happy" with the situation's resolution.

"This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me," Benteke told Aston Villa's official website.

"I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract."

Benteke's committal follows the current trend for players at Villa Park renewing their deals. Six other first-team squad members have also committed their futures to the club this summer.


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