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Aston Villa sign Belgian striker Christian Benteke from Genk

Updated: Friday, 31 Aug 2012 22:53 | Comments

Christian Benteke has joined Aston Villa
Christian Benteke has joined Aston Villa

Aston Villa have completed the signing of Belgium international striker Christian Benteke in a £7million move from Genk.

The 21-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year contract after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.

Villa had two initial bids rejected for Benteke but finally agreed a fee before the player flew into Birmingham this afternoon.

Benteke is Villa's eighth signing of the summer and takes their spending during that period to just under £25 million.

He has been a major target in recent weeks for Villa manager Paul Lambert, who has watched the player in action on several occasions and feels he is the ideal kind of forward to supplement penalty-box predator Darren Bent and the speedy Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Benteke has netted three times in five games this season after being on target 18 times during the 2011-12 campaign in all competitions.

He was also scored for his country for the first time in the 4-2 win over Holland earlier this month in what was his fifth cap.

Benteke joins striker Jordan Bowery (Chesterfield) and midfielder Ashley Westwood (Crewe) in moving to Villa on transfer deadline day.

"I am still young and I have realised my dream. My dream was to come here and I am very happy," Benteke told Sky Sports News.

"I hope I will be a success. I am motivated.

"It was difficult and I say thank you to Genk and everyone there. I will go forward for a new challenge.

"I think every player wants to come to the Premier League and I am very happy."

Benteke also admits he has taken his inspiration from fellow Belgian internationals Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Eden Hazard who all play in England.

He said: "It was motivation for me when I went to join up with the national team and saw all the players from the Premier League - Kompany, Vermaelen and Hazard. It made me want to play here.

"But the manager also convinced me this was the perfect move.

"Aston Villa is a very historic football club and my colleagues on international duty have said good things about the football here in England.

"I am looking forward to getting my career started in the Premier League. I am a striker and I can play with my back to the goal. I can also play behind the striker and I am good in the air.

"I know Darren Bent is a great striker and I want to play with him and work hard for the team."

Lambert added: "Christian is only 21 years of age but already he's an established Belgian international and he's had a terrific time at Genk.

"He's something very different to what we have here and that added dimension will enhance the football club.

"A young lad he may be, but he's definitely a handful. He's tall, powerful, he has pace and we'll be stronger with him in the side.

"We're stronger now as a unit and we're trying to build step by step. This is an important step. I believe in the players I have here that they can go and perform."

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