Aston Villa have declared themselves 'surprised and disappointed' after star striker Christian Benteke officially requested a transfer for every other player at the Birmingham-based club.
Benteke spoke with boss Paul Lambert yesterday about his desire for a change of scenery for thirty-three of his colleagues, plus Lambert himself, declaring that it was better for all concerned if they went their separate ways.
"First-team football is very important to any player, and it's clear that Shay [Given] and Enda [Stevens] and Chris [Herd] won't get that here, so I think it's time they moved on," Benteke told journalists. "And while I've enjoyed getting to know Ciaran [Clark] and Barry [Bannan] and Andreas [Weimann], I've played my last game alongside those guys."
"And also Ashley [Westwood], and Marc [Albrighton], and Ron [Vlaar], who I wish all the best for the future, wherever it may take them, so long as it's away from here."
Benteke added that Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent and Charles N'Zogbia were in danger of stagnating at Villa Park and should seek moves elsewhere to revive their careers, while Nathan Delfouneso, Karim El Ahmadi and Matthew Lowton were unlikely to make the grade as Premier League players and ought to be let go.
"I hope to stay at Villa for many years, and I'm looking forward to working under the new manager, whoever that is, as soon as possible," he concluded. "I hope to achieve great things at this football club, but with this current crop of no-hopers holding me back, that's just not going to happen."
In response to questioning, Benteke conceded that Brad Guzan was pretty decent, but explained that he just can't stand the idea of his seeing his stupid face every day for another year, so it would be best if he left too.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get FourFourTwo Newsletter
The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.