Transfer talk: Christian Benteke believed to favour move to Tottenham with Chelsea also showing interest

London clubs could 'battle it out' for striker although £25m valuation from Aston Villa could fend off any potential suitors

Want-away Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is believed to favour a move to Tottenham over London rivals Chelsea in an effort to secure first-team football ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Benteke handed in a transfer request earlier this week to try and force through a move away from Villa, but they are refusing to budge on the matter until their valuation of £25 million is met.

Tottenham are believed to be interested in his services as they attempt to strengthen a misfiring front line that relied too much on Gareth Bale at times last season.

But Villa, who believe they got a hard deal over the season-long loan of Jermaine Jenas, and not inclined to do Spurs any favours, and they are believed to prefer selling Benteke to Chelsea should both clubs meet their valuation.

The Villans would also be interested in a player-plus-cash deal that could see fellow Belgian international Romelu Lukaku move to Villa Park,

Benteke himself is said to believe he would not be first choice under Jose Mourinho, and the seemingly top-billing status he would receive under Andre Villas-Boas I why he favours a move to north as opposed to west London.

Villa’s billionaire American owner Randy Lerner has instructed chief executive Paul Faulkner to only agree the sale of the striker for a minimum £25m, which could price both clubs out of a potential deal with other transfer targets and the Financial Fair Play regulations impacting sales.

Their initial response to Benteke’s demand was to pull him out of the club’s pre-season tour to Germany and allow him an extra week’s leave, with a statement issued that the club would allow him if a suitable fee was met.

Manager Paul Lambert informed Benteke that he wanted to hold on to the man that he signed last year in an £8m deal from Genk, though a sale now would produce a significant return on the deal after just one year.

Benteke scored 19 goals last season as he quickly adapted to life in the Premier League, though Faulkner did offer the forward the chance to double his £1m-a-year salary on the condition that he extended his contract with the club – an offer that has been left on the table.

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