Aston Villa have confirmed Christian Benteke has handed in a transfer request and the striker will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer is made 'within an appropriate timeframe'.

Benteke was a revelation for Villa last season after his £7million arrival from Genk and he scored 19 goals in the Premier League.

The Belgium international was a key figure in helping Villa to retain their top-flight status and he has subsequently been linked with a summer move.

The likes of Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are among the clubs who are reported to have shown an interest in the 22-year-old.

Villa have now confirmed that Benteke has asked to leave the club, but have rejected claims the powerful forward refused to travel on the pre-season trip to Germany.

A club statement read: "In response to reports that Christian Benteke has not travelled to Germany with the club and has made a transfer request, we can confirm that both are accurate.

"For clarity's sake, however, he had already been given extra time off until July 18 and was reminded that there are three years remaining on his contract.

"We consider him to be a Villa player and expect that he will be with us for the 2013-14 season.