19 September 2014 05:14
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said he was keen to secure the services of Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar.
The Midlands club is flying in the infancy of the 2014-15 Premier League season, unbeaten in four matches with 10 points to sit outright second.
Villa’s form makes for even better reading when compared to their run-in last term, which saw them survive the threat of relegation despite just four points from their final nine fixtures.
However, the mood at Villa Park could not be more different to the end of last season, Lambert himself signing on until 2018, following on from renewed contracts secured with striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and defender Alan Hutton.
Midfielder Delph and defender Vlaar have contracts that expire at season’s end, putting their future high on Lambert’s priority list.
“That is the next thing on the agenda,” Lambert said.
“The two lads [Agbonlahor and Hutton] have signed which is great. If we can get the other lads tied up that is what we will try to do.”
Villa owner Randy Lerner had a change of tact after the club’s surprising start to the campaign, opting against selling immediately and handing out new contracts.
“Football does that. It is totally unpredictable. The chairman has been great and he has been totally transparent,” Lambert said.
“He [Lerner] is right behind the club and always has been as far as I’m concerned. Everything is really positive – new contracts, the way we’ve started the league.
“We are going to keep building it and if you get stability into the club it really helps. If that day comes when someone wants to take it on and the deal is right, as long as it is going to make Villa stronger then he will do it.”
Christian Benteke has missed five months of football due to an Achilles injury, but Lambert said the latest on the Belgium international striker – who has 29 Premier League goals to his name for Villa from 60 appearances – was positive.
“It’s massive for himself, he has trained all week and had no adverse reaction,” Lambert said, after Benteke trained on Thursday.
“He has got to work to try to get back in the side.”