Transfer news

Lambert calm over Benteke reports

May 24, 2013
By ESPN staff

Paul Lambert has insisted no player is bigger than Aston Villa Football Club amid reports that Christian Benteke would be interested in a move to Arsenal.

Christian Benteke
PA PhotosChristian Benteke was a key player in ensuring Aston Villa maintained their place in the Premier League

Villa's 19-goal Premier League top scorer has been a sensation in his first season since his £8 million transfer from Genk, attracting interest from clubs including AC Milan, Arsenal, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund.

Belgium star Benteke, currently preparing for an international friendly against the United States, has been quoted by The Sun as hinting that he would be interested in discussing his future if Arsenal made a direct approach.

However, a fuller version of the interview in Belgian sports paper DH reveals that he will not seek to force Villa's hand.

Asked whether he would battle with his club for a transfer if Arsenal came for him, Benteke replied: "No, it would be pointless to go to a showdown. Anyway, I think we do not need [to].

"If the opportunity arises, I'm sure we can come to a compromise where everyone wins. But I have no problem to stay at Aston Villa."

Villa boss Lambert appeared on Sky Sports on Thursday evening to discuss former club Borussia Dortmund prior to the Champions League final.

Dortmund will lose one of their own star men, Mario Gotze, to rivals Bayern Munich in the summer, and Lambert was asked how he would feel if - theoretically - a similar scenario played out with Benteke's future.

"It's tough, because you have to look after your football club, which is important. No one player should ever be bigger than the club," Lambert said.

"The club's got to be there for years after I've gone from it. So you can't get caught up on keeping one guy. You've got to invest and build a team rather than just individuals all the time.

"Dortmund got €37 million. I guarantee you [Jurgen] Klopp would be hurt initially, but then he'd think: 'OK, I can get one there, one here…' and the team becomes stronger.

"If you keep getting results, the fans will have no problem."