Tuesday 23 January 2018

Agbonlahor hopes Benteke stays

Christian Benteke joined Aston Villa in the summer
Christian Benteke joined Aston Villa in the summer

Gabriel Agbonlahor believes it is inevitable fellow Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke will be a target for leading clubs after his fine form this season.

Benteke has scored 15 goals for the midlands club since his £8million summer move from Genk. Villa boss Paul Lambert insists Benteke has already at least doubled in value and he has already been linked with possible summer moves to north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.

Agbonlahor feels 22-year-old Benteke could play on an even higher stage, although he hopes the Belgian international will remain at Villa beyond this season. He said: "Christian is one of the players of the season for me so far."

Agbonlahor added: "He's going to get linked with the top clubs, especially because of his age. He's young. He's gifted in what he can do so he's going to be linked with a lot of clubs. I think he's good enough for even higher than them (Arsenal and Tottenham).

"He's showed that by the way he plays with his composure for a big guy and he has quite a bit of pace as well. There are many aspects of his game that are at the top level."

In terms of Benteke's future, Agbonlahor said: "He's still learning his trade here and enjoying his football so hopefully he stays here. We will have to wait until the end of the season to see what the club decides. It's not for anyone else to decide, it's going to be down to the club and what their plans are for him."

Villa have received positive fitness news with striker Agbonlahor and winger Charles N'Zogbia expected to be available for Saturday's away Barclays Premier League match against Arsenal.

Agbonlahor missed the 2-1 home win over West Ham through illness while N'Zogbia limped out of the match with a thigh problem. But the duo have declared themselves fit after the fortnight's break from action as Villa look to build on the first win in nine league games which moved them out of the bottom three.

Agbonlahor, the club's longest-serving current player, confirmed: "I'm fine now and I'm fit (for Saturday)."

He has slotted effectively into a wide role in a front three, also featuring Andreas Weimann and Benteke. N'Zogbia has been in fine form since returning to the side after a lengthy lay-off with a knee problem. The former Newcastle and Wigan wide player said: "I got a kick at the end of the West Ham game on the calf and it was really sore. But it's fine now. I'll be okay."

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