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Lambert: Benteke worth over £25m

Stoke City v Aston Villa - Premier League

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 06: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his team’s third goal to make the score 1-3 during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium on April 6, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert believes his star-striker Christian Benteke is worth a similar amount of money to some of the most highly rated forwards in the world.

The 22-year-old Belgium international was signed by Lambert for £7m at the start of this season, and has been sensational, scoring 15 goals in 29 appearances as Villa try desperately to stay in the Premier League.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Lambert says that, despite interest in Benteke from a number of top clubs, he has absolutely no plans to sell such a key player.

“He is hot property. If you wanted to prise Christian away from here you would want a sizeable cheque, that is for sure,” said the 43-year-old Scotsman.
“He has the potential to be fantastic. If you look at modern day figures then £25m is probably a good start. We can’t stop people looking at him but he is under contract here. He is enjoying his football at the moment and doing fantastically well.”

FBL-ENG-PR-ASTON VILLA-LIVERPOOL

Aston Villa’s Belgian striker Christian Benteke reacts after missing a chance during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, West Midlands, England on March 31, 2013. Liverpool won the game 2-1. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ?live? services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

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Benteke is part of an exciting generation of young or in their prime Belgian stars, including the following:

Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Maroune Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Moussa Dembele and Kevin de Bruyne.

They are being tipped by some as dark horses to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer.