Chelsea have reportedly been keeping tabs on Crystal Palace and Belgium international striker Christian Benteke.

As per the Evening Standard, Christian Benteke is being monitored by the Premier League champions, who are looking for a replacement for the outgoing Diego Costa. The 26-year-old is also a target for Everton, who see him as the top contender to replace Romelu Lukaku.

On being asked about the speculation surrounding Benteke’s future, Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer, insisted that the he was a ‘crucial’ part of his team and the Dutchman made it clear that he hoped that the Belgian wouldn’t be leaving Selhurst Park in the coming weeks.

De Boer said,”He’s happy here and we really want him to stay. He made a great impact last season, especially in the second half of the season, and he is crucial to us and we don’t want to sell him.”

Last season, Christian had the second most productive campaign of his career. He scored 17 goals across all competitions, 15 of which came in 36 Premier League games and helped the Eagles finish at a comfortable 14th place on the table.

Benteke first arrived on the shores of England in the summer of 2012 from KRC Genk, joining then Premier League side Aston Villa for a paltry £7 million.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace misses a penalty kick during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on October 15, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Christian Benteke misses a penalty kick during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on October 15, 2016 in London, England. (Picture Courtesy – Getty Images)

At the end of his third full season with the club, he racked up a total of 49 goals and 12 assists in a mere 101 games. However, he couldn’t save Aston Villa from relegation in the 2014/15 season and Liverpool snapped him up after activating his £32.5 million release clause.

However, he could never recreate the same kind of form for Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers or Jurgen Klopp. So after 42 games in which he scored 10 goals and registered 6 goals, the Reds decided to cut their losses and sold him to the Eagles for £27 million, which could rise to £32 million.

The Blues have been linked with the likes of Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain and Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang so reports of Chelsea’s interest in the Benteke amidst those strikers have come as a surprise.

But if there is indeed concrete interest from Chelsea for Benteke, it shows that the Blues are now getting desperate in their chase for a striker. Benteke is not quite of the same the level as that of the aforementioned strikers, but Antonio Conte and Michael Emenalo are slowly but definitely, running out of options.

He is a Premier League proven striker and may even be an upgrade on Michy Batshuayi, but the Blues need a center forward of European calibre to lead their line.

Conte will undoubtedly be desperate to defend his League title and go as far as possible in the UEFA Champions League and for that, Benteke isn’t likely to be his man and he may be better off looking elsewhere.

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