Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is lining up a bid for Aston Villa rebel Christian Benteke as an alternative to Edinson Cavani, according to the Telegraph.

Benteke stunned Villa chiefs last night be handing in a written transfer request and will leave the club after just 12 months following last summer’s arrival from Genk.

Villa owner Randy Lerner will demand a fee of at least £25 million for the young Belgian international, 22, who still has three years remaining on his current contract.

The Lions had offered Benteke a new contract last month and were prepared to double his £20,000-per-week salary, though it appears the forward is uninterested.

Villa manager Paul Lambert said:

“While we’re hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request, it’s important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that.”

But Benteke’s shock decision to force through a move is set to spark a bidding war with London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal just a couple of clubs interested in the striker’s services.

In spite of having already signed Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen as well as welcoming back Romelu Lukaku from a successful spell on loan from West Brom, Mourinho is desperate to bolster his forward line having now missed out on a series of transfer targets this summer.

Edinson Cavani is inching closer to a move to Paris St-Germain while Robert Lewandowski has opted to join Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, inquiries into Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney have been made, but David Moyes has insisted the England international is not for sale.

Benteke was the fourth-highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season with 19 goals, behing only Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie.

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This article was first posted on July 9, 2013