Tim Sherwood has revealed Aston Villa might have no choice but to let Christian Benteke leave this summer because of a £32.5m buy-out clause in his contract.
Sherwood is confident Benteke wants to stay at Villa Park, but he has confirmed for the first time that there is a "quite substantial" buy-out clause in his deal that would trigger a move if met.
Benteke has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final with Arsenal after regaining form and fitness under Sherwood.
The Belgium striker signed a four-year deal in 2013, after initially handing in a transfer request, and Sherwood admitted Villa face losing Benteke if the clause is met.
He said: "There's a buy-out clause in his contract so it will be impossible for us to stop him if he wants to go.
Everyone has it. Most players would have it when they sign new contracts. I don't know what the figure is, but I believe it will be quite substantial.
"Someone's got to meet that buy-out clause and if they don't, it won't be considered because we don't want to lose him.
"Everyone has it. Most players would have it when they sign new contracts. I don't know what the figure is, but I believe it will be quite substantial.
"He's made no indication that he wants to leave. I've not had a conversation with him. I've told you my view on it, I don't think he should be moving clubs before a European Championship.
"We're building up to a European Championship, which is a huge stage as well. It's a tournament where you feel that Belgium will be one of the favourites to win it.
"By playing for Aston Villa, it hasn't hindered him being the first choice at Belgium, up to now. So to come here and score at the ratio in which he has scored, since I have taken over, if he ends up scoring 20 or 30 goals next season, he is probably playing for Real Madrid."