Arsenal will have to end any interest in Christian Benteke after the striker officially agreed to remain at Villa Park today.
Benteke – along with Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez – had been among the front-runners of strikers rumored to have attracted an approach from Arsenal but the Belgian’s name will now have to be marked out after signing a contract extension with Aston Villa.
The 22-year-old, who admitted in May that he was eying a move to Arsenal, also went on to withdraw the transfer request he submitted a few weeks ago which had alerted several clubs at the top of the Premier League.
But Benteke’s U-turn has come after a reported pay rise and reassuring training-ground meeting with manager Paul Lambert. After signing the deal which will keep him at Villa Park until 2017, the youngster said:
“I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. This is a great club and it has given me a lot.” Benteke said.
“I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract. This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me.”
In truth, the biggest losers here are Arsenal’s neighbours Tottenham who were very hopeful of securing the services of Benteke, scorer of 19 league goals last season in Villa’s Premier League survival.