Fulham manager Martin Jol has revealed Fulham missed out on signing Christian Benteke last summer because they were not willing to break the bank for the Belgian striker.

Benteke has scored 19 goals for Villa in all competitions this season and Jol would have relished pairing him up front with Fulham’s own summer signing Dimitar Berbatov.

But Fulham were not prepared to fork out the £7million it cost Villa to prise Benteke from Genk.

“He was doing well and in the national team and wasn’t an unknown player – he was playing with Dembele, Mertens, Vertonghen, Vermaelen,” Jol said.

“If you can play in that team you must be good. In England nobody knew him so Villa did well with their scouting system.

“I think he is an unbelievable player for them. He has scored 15 goals (in the Premier League).

“He was on my list as well. We only wanted to pay a certain amount. Maybe we should have gone to the bank or ask the chairman.

“But we had Berbatov so we are both happy.”

Benteke is keeping Darren Bent out of a Villa side that have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone with three wins from their last four matches.

Jol admitted his chance to land Benteke has gone, even if Villa end up dropping into the npower Championship.

“It would impossible now. So sometimes you have to step back and be humble and say you are too late,” Jol said.