Transfer news: Tottenham target Christian Benteke withdraws transfer request and signs a new contract with Aston Villa
Striker completes surprising U-turn following link with £25m move to Tottenham as he signs a four-year-deal to stay at Villa Park
Tottenham target Christian Benteke has made the astonishing turnaround of withdrawing his transfer request and has signed a new four-year-contract with Aston Villa.
The club confirmed the news after Benteke returned to the club on Thursday, having been given extra holiday to clear his head after he stunned the club by handing in a transfer request.
But the news on his change of heart comes as just as much of a surprise, and it will disappoint Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas who had expressed an interest in signing the Belgian international.
Villa manager Paul Lambert had said that they will not sell Benteke unless they were offered the right fee, with club owner Randy Lerner giving the go ahead to reject any bid that fell short of their £25m valuation.
This posed a problem for any transfer, as few clubs could afford the £25m fee having already spent significant money on the players they have already brought in. With Chelsea focusing on Wayne Rooney and Arsenal trying to sign one of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, it left Tottenham as clear favourites to sign the striker.
It appears now though that Benteke is off the market to other clubs and that he is willing to play for the Villans, which will please their fans after he was a key component in ensuring their Premier League survival last season.
Villa manager Paul Lambert said: "I had a full and frank discussion with Christian Benteke on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa.
"He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season.
"I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go."
Benteke said: "I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract.
"This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me.
"The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year."
Benteke scored 23 goals in all competitions in his debut season with the club having been signed from Genk, and Lambert will be hoping his decision change will prompt an upturn in form, with Villa looking to steer clear of the relegation fight this time around.
The news came on the same day that right-back Matt Lowton had signed a new four-year contract.
Lowton, 24, impressed in his debut season at Villa after moving from Sheffield United.
Fellow defenders Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker, midfielder Ashley Westwood, striker Andreas Weimann and goalkeeper Brad Guzan have also agreed new deals this summer.
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