Christian Benteke is Liverpool‘s number one striker target from the summer and reports emerged today claiming a deal for the Belgian was already confirmed.
Liverpool need to address their striker issues this summer and Brendan Rodgers is keen on adding Christian Benteke from Aston Villa to do the same. The Reds were also interested in Carlos Bacca, who decided to join AC Milan instead as no formalized interest from Liverpool was tabled. They have also been linked with Salomon Rondon of Venezuela and Zent St. Petersburg but the player is said to be a back-up option.
The stumbling block so far has been the release clause for the player, a hefty 32.5mp. Liverpool are not interested in paying the amount while Villa are asking for that to acquire his services. Benteke is Liverpool’s number one target, many media outlets have claimed over a while now. However, reports from TalkSport emerged today claiming a deal had already been struck between the club, sending social media into frenzy.
TalkSport claimed Liverpool had agreed a deal for the Belgian international and will secure his services “in the very near future.”
An ” . Anfield insider” told Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast programme, “My understanding is Christian Benteke, who has been on their radar for some time, is very close indeed to signing for Liverpool.
“I expect him to sign if not today then certainly in the not too distant future. Liverpool have done their work and have sealed a deal [with Aston Villa].”
So should Liverpool fans panic or celebrate, depending on their stance?
No, for now.
It is firmly believed that the Reds are not keen on paying Benteke’s release clause and their valuations are apart by about A?7m. Whether it takes a cash plus player deal to go through (with Liverpool wanting to clear a lot of deadweight from last season), the Merseysiders are adamant they will not pay the amount.
Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur, who covers the Belgians in the English Premier League for media outlet ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ tweeted that the report by TalkSport was indeed not true. He added that while a deal was possible “soon”, but it wasn’t to the effect of what the report by TalkSport was suggesting
‘Soon’, as mentioned on TS, can be soon. But 20 mins ago, Benteke nor his agent weren’t aware of an agreement. Release clause is the trigger
a Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) July 1, 2015
James Pearce of the Liverpool ECHO (considered most reliable regarding knowing the events surrounding Liverpool FC) validated Terreur’s claims by stating that a deal had not been struck for the player and stand-offs over the price still remain between the two sides.
“Reports this morning suggested that the Belgium international was on the brink of completing a move to Anfield.
“However, the ECHO understands that the situation remains unchanged. Liverpool want to sign Benteke but are unwilling to pay the A?32.5million asking price and that stand-off remains.
“Liverpool dona t want to pay more than A?25million for the big frontman, who has two years remaining on his current contract.
“Villa have no interest in selling Benteke and are highly unlikely to accept lower than the release clause.
“Part of the reason is that Villa will have to pass on 15% of any fee over A?7m to his former club Genk, who negotiated a sell-on clause when he left his homeland in 2012. If the release clause is met, that would be A?3.8m heading to the Belgian outfit.”
Liverpool fans understandably panicked when they heard the report of a deal being struck between the two sides which inadvertently meant that the Reds had agreed to meet the release clause. Liverpool have had a history of overpaying, especially for “Premier League proven players”. Dejan Lovren, Stewart Downing and not to forget, Andy Carroll have been some players who have been paid a lot for, and the trio didn’t exactly deliver to expectations, especially considering the sum Liverpool shelled out for them.
It is expected that Liverpool will sign Christian Benteke this summer, whether they can get Villa to lower their valuation remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether the Reds fans welcome Benteke as the striker who can get them to the top 4 next season or with a certain coldness.
For the latter, an Aston Villa fan took to Reddit to post about Benteke in an excellent write-up titled “Clearing some misconceptions about Benteke”. Here is an excerpt from the write-up.
I’ve been a Villa fan for a long time. Benteke is one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen here. Having watched every single minute of his Villa career so far, either in person or on screen, I feel many of the comments on here misrepresent him. I’ll keep it short. This will either deter you further or help you see what kind of player he is. It’s a little difficult to find video samples that exemplify my case, but I gave it my best shot with the limited amount of Villa footage that exists online.
Let’s settle a few things first:
Benteke has made 101 appearances in 3 seasons, scoring 49 goals. That’s a ratio of 0.485, or just about 1 goal every 2 games. That’s f*****g fantastic for a team as devoid of creativity and guile as Lambert’s Villa were. We have no flair players or playmakers.
Benteke is not injury prone. He sustained a hip flexor injury during the first half of the 13/14 season and an achilles injury from a bad tackle in training just before the World Cup. He struggled to build momentum during that season. Other than that, he has remained injury-free.
Guzan, Vlaar and Delph certainly played their parts, but Benteke was the driving force behind Villa for 3 straight years. In a team of dross and low quality imports, Benteke elevated us to the status of competitors at least.
Under Lambert, Villa flirted with progressively less exciting playstyles as time went on. At first we were a counter-attacking team. Then we persevered with a rugged long-ball game which limited Benteke. Finally, we settled on a possession-based style with no end product which rendered Benteke useless. Lambert was sacked, Sherwood arrived and Benteke thrived once again.
(You can read the entire article on Reddit by clicking here)
The author of the write-up makes a lot of sense in what he is trying to say.
Let’s also not forget, Benteke has been a constant thorn in the Liverpool side till now, having scored five goals for the Villains since his 2012 move. Some have argued that Benteke doesn’t fit Liverpool’s style of play, (the author of the aforementioned write-up goes on to clear that misconception along with some more) but just because the player is big and bulky, doesn’t mean he is exactly like Mario Balotelli. Au contraire, he is far more mobile than the two. Having said that, he isn’t like Daniel Sturridge or Luis Suarez. He is not going to torment defenders with his pace and stretch the backlines by dragging the centre-backs out of their positions. He would be a target man for the Reds but the 24 year-old would offer more up-front with his strong presence and would be able to link up play with the likes of Coutinho and Firmino. There are of course plenty of reasons for and against his signing and while even A?25mp might be incredibly steep, he does seem like one of the only player who has a genuine goalscoring threat, a side without Champions League can get.