Christian Benteke could demand a trigger fee clause like Demba Ba’s in his next Villa contract as clubs prepare to court the striker.
The Belgian international added to his burgeoning reputation with his first hat-trick for Villa in their 6-1 demolition of Sunderland on Monday night.
That took his tally for the season to 18 Premier League goals and will add to his growing list of admirers both at home and abroad.
Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City are believed to be the most interested clubs among Villa’s domestic rivals while Serie A giants Inter and Juventus have also been following him from afar.
Villa know they can keep Benteke for next season with talks already underway with his representatives over a new double-your-money deal to replace the four-year contract he signed when he joined the club from Racing Genk for £7million last summer.
However, Benteke’s agent is likely to stipulate that a trigger clause is inserted into the deal that would allow the player to speak to interested parties if an agreed amount is submitted by formal bid.
This is the kind of clause that enabled Chelsea to sign Demba Ba from Newcastle in January after the figure required to trigger the deal was publicised months before the transfer window.
Villa could fight to not have the clause inserted into the new deal but could then potentially end up with an unhappy player or see him publicly refuse to sign the new deal, leaving them at the mercy of agents and clubs intent on picking up a bargain.
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