Aston Villa Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 30

Joshua HaywardContributor IDecember 30, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21:  Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring a goal to level the scores at 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on August 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

With most of the talk surrounding Villa focusing on the Claret and Blues' disappointing run of form over the festive period, and Paul Lambert's admission of fearing the sack, transfer rumours are pretty thin on the ground.

So, ahead of the turn of the year, this is what we have for you today, folks...

Christian Benteke is on Atletico Madrid's January shopping list as the Spanish club prepares themselves for the departure of Diego Costa, according to the Daily Mail.

Villa's misfiring striker has failed to score in his last 10 games and missed the last three due to a persistent injury.

However, the Belgian's incredible form during the 2012/13 season and the start of this term seems to be enough for Atletico to line up a possible move for Villa's main forward.

Simon Jones and Neil Moxey of the Mail write:

The Spanish title contenders fear they could lose Costa in summer for his £32million buy out clause and see Benteke as a cheaper option with sell-on potential.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all monitoring Costa who has scored 23 goals in 20 games this season after a failed bid from Liverpool in the summer.

According to Jones and Moxey, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United have been keeping an eye on Benteke this season, though his current form may have persuaded them to look elsewhere should they opt to invest in January.

The 23-year-old is eligible for Champions League football, however—so, despite experiencing the longest goal drought in his Villa career so far, he could be subject of a number of bids come the turn of the year.

But, according to the Birmingham Mail's Steve Wollaston, Benteke's agent has dismissed such rumours and insisted that his client is keen to stay in the Premier League.