Aston Villa’s star striker Christian Benteke has asked to leave the club.
The Belgium international, a £7m signing from Genk last summer, scored 23 goals last season, making him easily Villa’s top scorer.
But after the season ended, the 22-year-old began dropping hints that he might not be sticking around. He claimed that he “won’t necessarily accept” being forced to stay at Villa Park.
Villa don’t seem intent upon putting up much of a fight. They have promised to “act” upon any offers that meet their valuation, amid rumours that Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs are all interested.
A club statement continued: “He will remain a Villa player should this not happen.
“He 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.”
Benteke has not travelled on a pre-season tour to Germany, but the club said he already had permission to return to training on July 18.
Villa boss Paul Lambert said he was “hugely disappointed” that Benteke had requested to leave.
He added: “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.”