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Sherwood reveals £32.5m Benteke buy-out clause

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Benteke is wanted by Liverpool
Benteke is wanted by Liverpool

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed that his club are powerless to stop their star striker Christian Benteke from signing for one of their Premier League rivals this summer.

Benteke has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in recent weeks, with Sunday World columnist and former Anfield great John Aldridge among those urging the Anfield club to make a move for the Belgian striker.

Now there has been a twist in this transfer tale as while Sherwood is hoping Benteke stays loyal to his club for another season, the Villa Park chief concedes the decision over his future is set to be taken out of his hands.

"There's a buy-out clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go," stated Sherwood, of a clause that is believed to be set at £32.5m. 

"Someone's got to meet that buy-out clause and if they don't it won't be considered because we don't want to lose him.

"Everyone has it. Most players would have it when they sign new contracts. I don't know what the figure is but I believe it will be quite substantial.

"He's made no indication that he wants to leave. I've not had a conversation with him. I've told you my view on it, I don't think he should be moving clubs before a European Championship.

"We're building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage as well. It's a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it.

"By playing for Aston Villa it hasn't hindered him being the first choice at Belgium, up to now.

"So to come here and score at the ratio in which he has scored, since I have taken over, if he ends scoring 20 or 30 goals next season he is probably playing for Real Madrid."

Meanwhile, Sherwood poured praise on his midfielder Jack Grealish (below), who looks set to start in his FA Cup final team on Saturday as the tug of war between the Republic of Ireland and England over his international future rumbles on.

"He has coped with the pressure up until now, when he is asked to step up he has ticked the boxes," added Sherwood of Grealish.

"The bigger the stage the better he's been and there isn't any bigger stage than this one so I'm hoping he performs - otherwise we'll sell him!

"He is great, he loves playing. I don't think he gets nervous. He doesn't look the type. He's a terrific player and we're happy he's on our side.

"I think he realises it because he is around Aston Villa fans, Jack has never seen the club win a trophy.

"Even if he tries to get away from it it's impossible with his family walking around with Villa shirts on every day."