Belfast Telegraph

Benteke's staying put - Lambert

Paul Lambert has defended Aston Villa's transfer policy and insisted Christian Benteke will not be sold in January.

Goal-shy Villa have bagged just 11 goals in 22 games and have failed to score in their last five Barclays Premier League outings.

They only have three senior strikers in Benteke, Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor - who have netted just eight league goals between them this season.

Fellow striker Libor Kozak has been out for a year since breaking his leg and Villa failed to bring in any cover in the summer.

But manager Lambert, who sent Darren Bent on loan to Derby this month, insisted he knew the situation and is happy with his options.

He said: "Even if you go for a top, top striker in football now you are talking, £10million to £15million-plus. Christian has been my biggest signing and he was millions of euros. Now he is probably, on his game, one of the best strikers in Europe.

"I knew the situation at the club, I knew we weren't going to do these sort of things. I had to respect Randy's (Lerner, chairman) way and there is no problem - that is the way the club is."

And Lambert insisted the club will not entertain any bids for Benteke this transfer window.

"No chance. Listen, there is no way and I am pretty sure Randy will be totally fine," he said.

Kozak, a £7million signing from Lazio in 2013, could return before the end of the season but Lambert is cautious after the 25-year-old's lengthy lay-off.

"Libor has been an absolute disaster with his leg break, he's been a nightmare. He is doing really well actually, he is coming back at the beginning for next week," he said.

"His rehab has gone really well and he's still got a wee bit of the way to go but he is getting there. He is running. We need to sit and discuss moving on to ball work but for the horrific break it was, he is doing well.

"A lot will depend on his healing, how he is. We have to wait and be guided by him and the medical people on how he is doing."

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