Tim Sherwood is confident he’s keeping Christian Benteke this summer. Confident enough to put his money where his mouth is, even. With a buyout clause in play, of course, it may not matter, but if it’s a question of whether Liverpool can reach a compromise agreement with Aston Villa, it seems fair to assume Sherwood’s confidence is a reflection of Villa’s determination not to cut a deal.
According to the Independent, though, Benteke intends to test that determination when he joins up for pre-season on Wednesday. They claim Benteke intends to seek out a meeting with Sherwood when he arrives back at the club, and that he will inform the manager of his intention to move on this summer. Whether it’s enough to get Villa to reconsider their hard-line stance is another matter, but it seems clear Benteke wants the move.
Where things potentially could get messy is in the history: Benteke has gone through this whole song and dance once before with his current club. Two summers back, Tottenham were chasing him. And Benteke turned in a written transfer request to force the move. And then the deal fell through, leaving the player in the rather awkward position of being stuck at a club he had officially requested a move away from.
That experience could stop Benteke going all the way this time around and submitting another written request to try and force a deal. Without going that far, though, every signal Aston Villa have sent thus far has suggested it will take the payment in full of his £32.5M release clause for him to move on, and so the impasse seems set to continue.