Belfast Telegraph

Sherwood powerless to block Benteke exit

By Nick Mashiter

Tim Sherwood admits Aston Villa will be unable to stop Christian Benteke leaving this summer - after revealing he has a buy-out clause in his contract.

The striker has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Sherwood confirmed for the first time he has a "substantial" release clause in his contract which would trigger a move if met.

Benteke has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games ahead of today's FA Cup final with Arsenal after regaining form and fitness under Sherwood.

The Belgium striker signed a four-year deal in 2013, after initially handing in a transfer request, and Sherwood admitted they face losing Benteke if the clause is met.

He said: "There's a buy-out clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go. 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.

"Everyone has it. Most players would have it when they sign new contracts. I don't know what the figure is but I believe it will be quite substantial.

"He's made no indication that he wants to leave. I've not had a conversation with him. I've told you my view on it, I don't think he should be moving clubs before a European Championship.

"We're building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage for him to perform on as well. It's a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it.

"Playing for Aston Villa hasn't hindered him being the first choice at Belgium in the slightest, up to now.

"So to come here and score at the ratio in which he has scored, since I have taken over, if he ends up scoring 20 or 30 goals next season he is probably playing for Real Madrid."

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