Villa ‘confident’ of keeping Benteke

Benteke has been linked with a string of clubs this summer, most recently Liverpool, after ending the season in spectacular fashion to help Villa avoid relegation, and with a ??32.5m release clause in his current deal Villa could be powerless to prevent him leaving.

However Fox insists Benteke has a great working relationship with Tim Sherwood and says the club are under no pressure to sell the player.

Fox admits they are yet to speak to the Belgian regarding his future but hopes Villa will be able to keep the striker who scored 15 goals in all competitions last season, 12 coming in his last 13 appearances.

Benteke has two years left on his deal at Villa and is currently on international duty with Belgium as they prepare to face Wales in a crucial European Qualifier on Friday.

“We are obviously going to offer him a new contract in the summer. He’s a fantastic player and one of the top strikers in the Premier League and I think he is someone who is recognised around the world as one of the top strikers.

“He was critically important as you saw this year for us. His goals in the second half of the season were fundamental to us staying up. He’s settled in England.

“He has got a good relationship with everyone at the club. I know him and Tim have a great working relationship, so our hope is we can keep him. I haven’t had any conversations with him, I know he’s got two years left on his deal as a starting point, so I am fairly certain we can have him back next year if we want.”??