Tottenham and Chelsea have suffered a blow in their bids to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. The Belgian international has withdrawn his transfer request and signed a new four-year-deal with Paul Lambert's side, which will keep him at Villa Park until 2017.
The 22-year-old was strongly linked with a move to White Hart Lane as Andre Villas-Boas had set his eyes on Benteke to lead the north London club's attack. London rivals Chelsea were also keen to acquire his services.
Benteke has now returned to training for the first time, weeks after handing in a transfer request. The Belgian expressed his delight at extending his stay and has vowed to improve his form for the upcoming season. The striker scored 19 goals last season.
"I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract. This is a great club and it has given me a lot," Benteke told the club's official website.
"Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me. The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year," he added.
Meanwhile, Villa manager Paul Lambert admitted that Benteke's U-turn will be a boost for the club and its fans.
"Christian has decided to commit to the club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go," Lambert said.
"I had a full and frank discussion with Christian on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa," the Villa manager said.
Benteke joined Villa from Genk last summer and had an impressive debut season. The Daily Mail believes the new deal could double his wages at Villa Park.