Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly emerged as rivals in the race for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

The 22-year-old, who arrived from Genk for £7m last summer, has 23 goals and eight assists to his name from 39 appearances for the Villans in all competitions this season, including 19 Premier League goals in his debut campaign in the English top flight.

Christian Benteke

Benteke is expected to leave Villa Park if Paul Lambert's side suffers relegation. However, according to the Mirror, the Belgian will be approached by a host of top clubs, even if Villa survive the drop.

The report claims Spurs have made Benteke their top transfer target for the summer and are willing to meet Villa's asking price, which is over £20m. However, the north London outfit are facing stiff competition from cross-town rivals Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger understood to be willing to spend big this summer.

Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic is the Gunners' top target but recent reports state that Wenger would look to add two strikers to his ranks this summer, with QPR's Loic Remy and Manchester City's Edin Dzeko being linked. However, the Mirror believes Benteke is the player Wenger really wants.

Benteke had earlier revealed his affinity for Arsenal by stating the Gunners are the club he loves and their legend Thierry Henry was his childhood idol.

"Arsenal are the club I love. I like their philosophy of selecting young players and, besides, they had Thierry Henry. For me he is the best player in the world and was my boyhood idol. I'm not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal," the striker had said.

Benteke also pointed out that he thought Villa were based in London, when he signed for the Birmingham outfit.

"When I joined Villa I didn't know where they played. I thought they were a London club!" he added.

It is understood that the club that clinches the last remaining spot in the top four would have the best chance of signing Benteke, who is keen for Champions League action.