Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has hit out after he was questioned about a potential departure on loan for misfiring striker Christian Benteke.
The 29-year-old has endured another frustrating season in south London, failing to register a goal or an assist in 15 Premier League games. The signing of Cenk Tosun on loan from Everton appears to have pushed Benteke further down Palace's pecking order, with Jordan Ayew the club's first choice striker.
But Hodgson, speaking in his pre-match press conference, was fuming when asked whether or not he would support a loan exit for the Belgian - amid claims from Sky Sports that Bordeaux have pulled out of a loan deal, because they don't want to pay a loan fee of £500,000.
"I just can't believe I'm being asked the question to be perfectly honest, I really can't," Hodgson said, also quoted by Sky Sports.
"I can't believe in a serious press conference someone is going to suggest, where we have very few forwards anyway, a player that we're badly missing because he's been out injured, that we as a football club or I as the manager are seriously considering loaning out what is potentially one of our best players to a club in the French division.
"I'd love to know where the stories come from, I really would, but I still find it a little bit hard to believe.
"When I ask a question I do say to myself is there any point in asking that question because I know the answer. But we have to sit here every week and answer these questions which come from nowhere."
Hodgson's words would appear to put a major dent in the potential plans of another Premier League side, Aston Villa.
Dean Smith's side are without a recognised striker at present, after big-money summer signing Wesley was ruled out for the rest of the season through injury, and have been tipped to move for former striker Benteke.
Villa Park is where Benteke made a name for himself, after moving to the club from Genk in 2012. In three seasons at the club, he scored 42 Premier League goals in just 89 appearances, winning the Premier League Player of the Month award in April 2015.
A £32.5m move to Liverpool followed that summer, but Benteke was unable to replicate his form on Merseyside and was shipped off to Palace after just one season.
A promising first season at Palace, which yielded 15 Premier League goals, has unfortunately turned into a bit of a nightmare for Benteke, and he's managed just four goals in his last 61 league appearances.
But Hodgson's words suggest he won't be allowed to leave the club, unless there is a drastic change in the Eagles' circumstances.
Source : 90min