Aston Villa delay Christian Benteke contract talks
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert today denied the club have opened contract talks with Christian Benteke and insisted their Premier League future is more important.
The Villa chief wants to wait until survival is secured before moving to tie down their prized asset.
Benteke, who still has three years left on his current contract, is reportedly on £20,000-a-week.
Villa are keen to warn off summer bids with a new deal after the Belgian's stunning debut campaign.
He has scored 15 Premier League goals this term and, ahead of tomorrow's visit of Fulham, is just five away from equalling Peter Withe's 32-year club record of 20 league goals in a season.
Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been linked to the 22-year-old but Lambert insisted Villa will wait for talks.
He said: "I think the most important thing is the league. We're waiting until the end of the season.
"If somebody is saying that Villa have promised him a new contract, then I can't have been part of the conversations.
"I speak to him all the time – not about contracts – basically to just keep him going. He's never once mentioned anything about contracts.
"He's got a contract here anyway as it stands. I think it's important we stay in this league.
"I have never had one conversation with him regarding contracts or anything like that – he's not like that, he's not that type of lad.
"I'm sure come the end of the season, we'll sit down, not just with Christian but with a few others."
Lambert also praised the Belgian hitman's impact since he joined for £7million from Genk last summer, with his goals giving 16th-placed Villa hope in the survival battle.
He said: "Nobody visualised he was going to do what he has when he first came in, but the big guy has been fantastic. He's been great for us."
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