Christian Benteke has been deemed surplus to requirements by Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, and the Merseyside outfit are trying to find him a new club.
The Reds are demanding £30 million for the Belgian forward in a bid to recoup most of the sum paid to Aston Villa a year ago for his services. Crystal Palace were the big favourite to sign Benteke, and they were even prepared to pay his £120,000 per week wages, but Liverpool’s valuation of the player is rumoured to be too much for them.
West Ham were also in the mix for his signature, but they too seem to have now been put off.
However, the race for the 25-year-old striker is heating up elsewhere among other clubs, and two new sides appear to be in the running as Benteke’s next possible destination – Everton and Sunderland.
The fact that Everton are interested in acquiring Benteke’s services comes as a bit of a surprise due to the fact that The Toffees are of course Liverpool’s local rivals.
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However, the Toffees will not make a move before Romelu Lukaku’s situation is resolved; if Chelsea meet their demands of £75 million for the player, Everton will have enough cash to spend and will be searching for a forward of Benteke’s calibre as a replacement.
His potential move across the Stanley Park would be the first one of its sort since 1992 and Garry Ablett. What is likely to be worrying the Reds fans is that Benteke could become quite successful at Goodison and perfectly blend in with their playing style, despite under-performing at Anfield. Liverpool would prefer to send him elsewhere as a result, and Sunderland are supposedly the next team in line for the big Belgian.
The new Black Cats manager, David Moyes, lacks options up front, and the 33-year-old Jermain Defoe is the only recognised striker his current squad. Hence, a move for Benteke would make a lot of sense. It looks like it’s going to be a two-horse race for the Liverpool forward’s signature, and a formal bid should be launched very soon.
Benteke could fare excellently for either Sunderland or Everton next season, and would be considered the main star in each of teams if a transfer came to fruition. Staying at Anfield is an option, but with Sturridge, Origi, and Ings ahead of him in the pecking order, it wouldn’t be any good for the Belgian’s career.
Klopp is prepared to keep him in the squad as the backup striker if the club doesn’t receive a £30 million offer, but with a lack of European football this season, his playing time would be severely limited.
Benteke wasn’t bad at all last season; he scored nine goals in 29 matches in the Premier League, with 15 of those appearances being as a substitute. He still finished as the team’s second top scorer behind Firmino, and the opinion among the Liverpool fans is divided as to whether or not he should be given one more year to prove himself.
His quality finishing in front of goal, strength, and fantastic aerial ability are his biggest assets, and Benteke would start for the vast majority of Premier League clubs. It seems that his time at Liverpool however, is over.