Christian Benteke has a release clause included in his Aston Villa contract that would allow him to leave for £32.5m, Tim Sherwood has confirmed.
The manager has revealed that he would be powerless to keep the Belgium international at Villa Park should such an offer arrive in the summer transfer window.
Benteke has been in fine form in the second half of the season, scoring 11 goals in his last 11 Premier League, and has attracted several suitors from the Premier League's top six.
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Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have all been linked with a move this summer and all are very capable of meeting the release clause.
Having helped save Aston Villa from relegation, it is likely the 24-year-old will be looking to join a club capable of challenging for Europe's biggest prizes.
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But despite the clause, Sherwood has not given up hope of keeping Benteke at the club.
He told The Sun: “There is a buy-out clause in Christian’s contract, so it will be impossible to stop him if he wants to go. Most players have it.
"Someone’s got to meet that buy-out clause and, if they don’t, it won’t be considered because we don’t want to lose him.”
Benteke has been an enormous success for Aston Villa since arriving for just £7m from Belgian outfit Genk three years ago.
Aston Villa will stand to make an enormous profit if they cash in next summer, but fans will have to deal with seeing him flourish at a Premier League rival.
However, Sherwood believes that if Benteke can continue his current form, he is sure to end up playing for the likes of Real Madrid.
He said: “I don’t think Christian should be moving clubs before a European Championship.“You feel Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it.
"If he ends up scoring 20 or 30 goals next season, he is probably playing for Real Madrid.
“He can go to the best club in the world if he scores 30 goals next season. The kid could be that good.”
Where should he go?
Chelsea are looking for a striker to compete with Diego Costa after Jose Mourinho saw Didier Drogba depart Stamford Bridge. That would mean playing time will be at a significant premium in west London.
Liverpool are still looking for a star man to replace Luis Suarez, but do not have Champions League football on offer as at Chelsea.
Manchester United, however, have the prospect of a key spot in the squad and the chance to play in Europe's top competition. They are also likely to offer the biggest wages.
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