Christian Benteke

Atletico Madrid are keeping an eye on Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke to replace Diego Costa, who may move to the Premier League next summer, reports in Spain claim.

The Spanish side were linked to Benteke last summer when they tried to fill the gap left by Radamel Falcao's move to Monaco. However, they finally signed Brazilian Leo Baptistao and Spaniard David Villa to partner Diego Costa in the front line.

According to Spanish Newspaper Marca, Atletico are monitoring Benteke again as Costa has caught the eye of some of the best European clubs – including Arsenal and Liverpool – having become top scorer in La Liga this season with 19 goals in just 17 games.

The report added that Atletico Madrid representatives like Benteke a lot, but last summer they refused to sign him because Villa demanded more than £20m for him.

Aston Villa got Benteke for a bargain £8m from Genk in summer 2012 and manager Paul Lambert was determined not to sell him after a sensational debut season in which his 19 Premier League goals kept them safe from relegation.

However, if Atletico Madrid get a substantial amount of money for Diego Costa, Benteke will become a key target for Diego Simeone´s side and they will have the money to meet Aston Villa's expectations.

Last July Benteke handed in a transfer request at Villa, but he subsequently reversed his decision and signed a new deal with his team until 2017.

This season the 23-year-old striker has failed to make the same impact he had last term, scoring just four goals in 14 Premier League games.