Villa boss highlights striker price hike
Aston Villa, Updated:
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Paul Lambert has laughed off rumours that Christian Benteke wants to leave and says he's doubled in value since he joined Aston Villa.
Villa boss Lambert has warned any club wanting to buy him "had better have a few quid in their pocket" after reports circulated that Arsenal were now very keen to make him their next forward signing.
Benteke has scored 14 goals since his £8million arrival from Genk to vindicate his manager's shrewd judgement on the transfer market.
"When the guy came into Villa, people were saying to me 'who is he and why are you going for someone from Genk?'" Lambert said.
"With what he's done, he's a cult hero already.
"He's only 22 and he's got years and years ahead of him. He's not at his peak, but what he's done for me and for the club is fantastic.
"If someone wanted to buy Christian, they'd better have a few quid in their pocket."
Asked whether Benteke's performances have doubled his value since last summer, Lambert replied: "Yes, by miles.
"He's not just going to walk out of here for the value he came for, that's for sure.
"We have given him the opportunity to show what he can do and I think he is loving his football at the moment."
Lambert laughed off rumours that Benteke wants to leave Villa, revealing that the softly-spoken giant doesn't say much.
"I've not heard it," he added. "He's a cracking big guy and really humble. If he keeps that, he could be anything he wants to be."