Manchester United aim to beat Liverpool to £32.5m-rated Christian Benteke

Manchester United are monitoring Christian Benteke’s position at Aston Villa as they consider taking on Liverpool in the race for the Belgium international.

Louis van Gaal has reshaped his squad with the arrivals of Matteo Darmian, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, but he also wants a forward following the sale of Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce.

Liverpool, though unwilling to meet the £32.5million buyout clause in Benteke's contract, remain favourites to sign the 24-year-old, who has made clear his determination to leave Villa Park this summer.

United have not made any firm contact with Villa over Benteke but he is a player they are considering ahead of the new season.

Boss Tim Sherwood, however, is confident Benteke will play a ‘huge part’ for his Aston Villa side next season, despite the links with United and Liverpool.

Benteke wants to leave to play European football but is not expected to employ Raheem Sterling-style tactics and is out with Villa on their pre-season tour to the Algarve, Portugal.
‘I don’t think Christian would pull a sulk or anything like that,’ said Sherwood. ‘He knows there’s too much at stake. He respects the club too much.

‘I’m confident that in my mind he’s a huge part of next season. He’s going to be very important for us.

‘A lot of teams have sold their one player, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, and then tried to get the same results by bringing in six or seven. It doesn’t happen, does it?

‘You can take your £32.5m but try and spend it. It’s a tough market out there. Other chairmen would be happy wouldn’t they? If Christian was to go the prices go up, clubs would hold us to ransom.

‘I think Liverpool have shown an interest but there’s not been a bid worth considering. They’ve got six or seven strikers themselves at the moment - they’ve just taken two new ones in as well.

‘They’ve got Divock Origi back, they’ve got Danny Ings, the Brazilian boy Roberto Firmino for £29m - they’ve got a few options there.’
Sherwood has put together a list of possible Benteke replacements in any case, adding: ‘You need a plan just in case that bid does come in but £32.5m is nothing if you lose your Premier League status for next season.’

Credit: Tom Bellwood/SportsMail