Christian Benteke’s future is set to be a point of contention this summer, as a mass number of globally reputable outfits clamber to be involved in the battle for his signature.
Inter Milan are the latest to be linked with the striker, who is also on the wishlist of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham.
And although Paul Lambert is desperate to hold on to his prize asset, he could have little say in the matter, particularly if Aston Villa receive an astronomical bid for his services during the close season.
The Belgian international would certainly move on if Villa were to be relegated, but having improved their form somewhat, the Villains now find themselves favoured at 4/9 to avoid the drop.
Therefore, Lambert would at least be safe in the knowledge that he will obtain a hefty fee for the 22-year-old, should Villa justify those odds and maintain their top-flight status.
Reigning champions City are expected to be the first to test their resolve with a £20m bid, as they aim to bring the powerful forward in as part of a big summer reshuffle.
The Citizens have a history of signing players from Villa, and the likes of Gareth Barry and James Milner have gone on to become Etihad Stadium stalwarts since making the switch.
The expected departures of Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko would further increase the Sky Blues’ pressing need for a striker meanwhile, and the future of Sergio Aguero is also uncertain.
It is thought that Benteke, who has hit 17 goals in all competitions since arriving from Genk for £7m last year, is open to the idea of a move, and is keen to test himself at the highest level.
And if Benteke is given first-team assurances by a club the stature of City or Inter, he seems ready to embrace the chance to participate in Europe’s elite competition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.