Benteke urged to sign new deal

Benteke ended the 2014-15 season in fine form, scoring 11 goals in his final 13 matches as Villa secured their Premier League place, but that only ramped up speculation that one of the division’s giants would make a summer move for him.

The Belgium international has been linked with Liverpool and champions Chelsea, and Sherwood revealed earlier in the week that he has a ??32.5m buy-out clause in his contract.

But the Villa boss is keen to get Benteke tied down to a new deal and revealed after the FA Cup final defeat by Arsenal that he is planning to sit down with the 24-year-old about his future.

“I will have a chat with him,” Sherwood said. “I have told him I want him to stay.

“I want him to have a good season and score at the same ratio as he did when I??came in here. I’m not sure what his plans are, he didn’t tell me either way.

“But I think it is right to talk to him about the speculation and put it to??bed. We need to offer him a new contract, which the club are prepared to do, and??he needs to sign it. When he does we know he’s not going anywhere.”

Even if Benteke does not sign new terms, he will not be leaving on the cheap.

“If no one meets the buy-out clause, he won’t be going anywhere,” Sherwood added.

Even though owner Randy Lerner is looking to sell the club, Sherwood has been??told he can sign new players, providing he proves they will improve the squad.

The Villa boss hinted there would be wholesale changes in the aftermath of the??4-0 defeat to the Gunners, claiming the current squad possesses a “losing??habit” that needs to change if the club is to avoid another relegation scrap??next year.

“We can spend if I can justify it to the owners,” the 46-year-old said. “We can all be mates, all jolly patting each other on the back but I don’t think we have a problem with the desire of the group.

“We need to improve and not be a relegation-fodder team, and that will be??difficult. You need to add quality and I can improve the mentality of some of??them (already here) because it becomes a losing habit and we have been used to??losing football matches for far too long.”

Tom Cleverley is at the top of Sherwood’s shortlist after scoring three goals in the final five league games of his season-long loan from Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is not interested in the England international, who is now out of contract, and Sherwood wants him to remain.

“I have told Tom I want him to stay,” Sherwood said. “We will have a chat with his representatives and see if we can get a deal done. He will have a few options. He’s enjoyed his time here, I think he has flourished.”

And persuading Ron Vlaar to sign a new contract is also high on Sherwood’s list of??priorities, as he added: “I have told him I want him to stay so we will have a chat with him as well,”

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