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Sherwood reveals release clause that could trigger Benteke move

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood told the media today that his star striker Christian Benteke has a £32.5 million release clause in his contract that, if a bigger club matched, would potentially trigger a move that Villa would be helpless to stop.

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Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has a £32.5 million release clause, Tim Sherwood revealed on Thursday.
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has a £32.5 million release clause, Tim Sherwood revealed on Thursday.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Two days before the FA Cup Final, the media's questioniong to Tim Sherwood somehow led the Aston Villa manager to reveal the massive news that star striker Christian Benteke has a £32.5 million release clause in his contract, which still has two years left on it.

Release clauses have become commonplace in the Premier League and all over Europe, so it's not necessarily surprising that Benteke has one, but it certainly is strange timing for Sherwood to reveal to the media that Benteke has a release clause and exactly what the figure is.

Is there some sort of strategy that Sherwood has behind revealing this crucial information that could affect the future of Aston Villa Football Club, or does Sherwood just have absolutely no filter when he's talking to the press?

I'd like to believe he made Benteke's release clause public because it's his way of telling the fans -- and other clubs -- that there's no way the Aston Villa striker will be sold this summer for anything less than £32.5 million, which is a massive sum of money for a 24-year-old that has been brilliant and unstoppable just as much as he's been inconsistent and injury-prone.

For Benteke, who most likely already knew about this release clause, this changes nothing. He's already said that, if he moves, he wants to play for a club where he'll be the undoubted No. 1 striker. This certainly wouldn't be the case at Chelsea (Diego Costa, Loic Remy) or Manchester United (Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney); but Liverpool, with Daniel Sturridge as the club's only top-quality striker, could offer this.

Perhaps knowing Liverpool could be the biggest domestic threat for Benteke, Sherwood slyly added "there's no point going to a club where they don't cross the football" when discussing the Reds' potential interest in the big Belgian.

But before Villa fans panic at the possibility -- and maybe probability -- of losing Benteke this summer, let's pause for a moment and put Benteke's Aston Villa career in perspective here.

Sure, he's almost single-handedly saved Aston Villa from relegation in 2013 and again this year with remarkable late-season scoring streaks. But in three full campaigns with the club, he has scored 49 total goals; for comparison, in John Carew's (remember him?!?) first three seasons with Aston Villa, he scored 45 total goals.

When fit and motivated, Benteke is a complete striker fully worth £32.5 million. When injured or out of form, Benteke is a misfit player that doesn't understand the offsides rule.

I believe Aston Villa would survive without Christian Benteke.

So, will Christian Benteke move happen in the summer?

It could really either way.

If Liverpool trigger the release clause, which there's no guarantee of considering the Reds spent all of their Luis Suarez money and more last summer, there's no certainty that Benteke will leave. It'd be a risky move ahead of Euro 2016 for a player that would've been bitterly disappointed at missing World Cup 2014. Heck, Liverpool might not even be able to offer better European football than Villa if the claret and blues win at Wembley on Saturday.

The even bigger threats to Villa for Benteke's services might be massive clubs on the continent like Borussia Dortmund or Atletico Madrid that could afford his release clause and could use a striker.

If Benteke does go, it's hard to argue with a fee of £32.5 million.

With that sort of money, Aston Villa could buy Danny Ings, Charlie Austin and a maybe even a good left back!

Regardless of what happens, with Sherwood releasing this news, it sets up for an interesting summer of wheeling and dealing for Aston Villa under a manager that has never handled a transfer window before.