Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has hit back at speculation that Christian Benteke wants to sign for Arsenal, claiming the Belgian international was misquoted and misreported.
Benteke signed for the Villans in the summer, moving from Genk for £7million, and has impressed with four goals in ten appearances for the Birmingham-based relegation candidates.
But reports released this morning suggested the Belgium striker, capped nine times for his country, had a pragmatic view of his career at Villa Park, not hiding his intentions to move to Arsenal. Many people believe that the reports also made Benteke appear disrespectful and ignorant towards his new club’s fans and heritage.
“I am not afraid of making enemies at Aston Villa by saying I love Arsenal. There are worse things one can say,” Benteke told the Daily Express.
“I am a Villa player for now. They are the right club at the right time for me. I have fulfilled a dream by playing in the Premier League.
“Villa are the beginning of my career in England. Although I didn’t know their full history, I knew they’d played in the Champions League and won plenty of titles and cups.
“At the time I signed I didn’t know where they played. I thought they were a London club.
“Arsenal are the club I love. I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides, they had Thierry Henry in their team.”
In his Friday press conference, that was later replayed on Sky Sports News, Lambert told reporters that his striker had fallen victim to the press and his comments had been taken out of context.
“The big guy doesn’t say two words let alone give a full story,” said the Scottish boss.
“I think that’s naughty journalism what they’ve tried to do.
“Every young footballer has a team or player they follow, if Christian has a team thats no great danger to anybody.
“I think what it says about Benteke doesn’t really care if upsets Aston Villa fans, I think that’s really naughty, I don’t think he said that in any stretch of the imagination whatsoever,” he added.
Benteke is expected to take part in Aston Villa’s Premier League clash away to Manchester City on Saturday.