- Premier League
Villa deny Benteke-Defoe swap talk
Aston Villa have rejected claims that they are preparing to offload Christian Benteke to Tottenham in a deal involving Jermain Defoe moving the other way.
Reports on Wednesday morning suggested that Spurs have offered Defoe, along with a transfer fee, to Villa in exchange for the Belgium international, who has been a revelation since his £7 million signing from Genk last summer.
The Midlands club have categorically denied receiving any offers for the 22-year-old from Spurs, or any other of the interested parties that have been tracking Benteke since the end of the season.
A Villa source said: "There has been no bid from Tottenham. In fact we have not had an official offer from any of the many clubs mentioned in connection with Christian."
Atletico Madrid have been leading the race to sign Benteke and have indicated that they are prepared to use half the £50 million received from Monaco for the transfer of Radamel Falcao.
Villa, however, remain relaxed over their striker's future and believe he will still be with the club next season.
Paul Lambert's side have already held one round of discussions over a lucrative new contract extension for the striker, who has three years remaining on his current deal, and negotiations are expected to continue over the next couple of weeks.
Benteke and his representatives have stated that they will resume talks this month, after the player finishes his international duties with Belgium.
Villa have been labeled a selling club over the last couple of seasons, due to the departures of James Milner, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.
Barry and Milner left for Manchester City, while Young moved to Manchester United and Stewart Downing attracted a £20 million fee from Liverpool.
Villa, though, have no record of selling players to clubs they perceive to be on a similar level to themselves, and Lambert maintains it will take a huge bid in excess of £30 million for the club to even consider allowing Benteke to leave.
Even if they are unable to persuade the striker to sign improved terms this summer, they still believe he will be part of the squad next season.