So, Liverpool are reportedly set to meet Christian Benteke’s £32.5 million release clause after being linked with him for the majority of the summer.
His form towards the end of last season certainly suggested that he was after a move, with 12 of his 14 league goals coming from the beginning of March until the end of the season.
The forward, who cost Villa £7 million from Genk in 2012, has certainly proven value for money for the West Midlanders, as he boasts an impressive goalscoring record of 42 goals in 89 appearances.
Liverpool have recently signed Burnley man Danny Ings, and already have a struggling Mario Balotelli, an injury-stricken Daniel Sturridge and highly-rated Divock Origi. With players like Fabio Borini seemingly surplus to requirements, Benteke will certainly bolster that strike force.
None are quite an in-form Fernando Torres, or Luis Suarez for that matter, but this signing will give them strength beyond their first choice striker, something which they haven’t been able to boast for a while.
For that reason alone, he could be worth the money, and here are six reasons we think Benteke will actually make Liverpool fans seriously happy next season.
He scored goals for Aston Villa. Surely worth a knighthood, considering a lot of the others struggled to find the back of the net, particularly before Sherwood’s era. Averaging nearly a goal every other game is not a bad turn out, even more so for a side who haven’t even looked like getting in the top six for a long while.
Goals have dried up for Liverpool since Suarez’s exit, but options are certainly improving, and will continue to do so should they sign the Belgian forward. Ings, Sturridge, Benteke, Balotelli, and Origi, as a collective, should be capable of pushing the Reds forward.
Beating their rivals
Manchester United beat Arsenal to the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin, so Liverpool would be making a statement of intent by signing Benteke after reports LVG wanted to bring Benteke to Old Trafford.
And, after Memphis Depay reportedly rejected Liverpool in favour of United, this could take it back to deuce psychologically as they get one over on their bitter rivals.
A fellow Belgian and a player who will look up to Benteke, with the chance of a deadly partnership being formed for club and country. Anyone for ‘BAB’ – no that isn’t a reference to Liverpool legend, Phill Babb.
In all seriousness, he seemed to have struggled for a while at Lille last season, but Benteke could provide the £10 million man with the guidance to allow him to step up to the plate.
Instead of signing players like Lazar Markovic and Emre Can, who at the time were completely unproven on the European and Premier League stage, Liverpool signing Benteke would completely reverse that trend.
Benteke has scored seven in 24 appearances on the international stage for Belgium, who are ranked third in the FIFA rankings. Whereas they spent £20 million on a player who hadn’t even started 20 games in a Benfica shirt in Markovic.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 16, 2015
He seems to have been around forever, doesn’t he? It’s quite easy to forget that he’s only 24 years of age. He has a pretty impressive record considering that, managing double digits in every of his three seasons in the Premier League.
He has plenty of time on his side, so Liverpool can start to get a settled front line, with a forward who is only going to improve. His eye for goal, his composure and his positioning will get even better with time. Add that to his physical prowess, and Liverpool could have a monster up top.
The man is a mountain – but he has pace too. Imagine chucking him on ageing centre-half – compare that with a lacklustre Balotelli. Defenders are going to be in for a rough ride against the Reds this year should he sign, certainly more so than last year – not that it would be too hard.
Standing at 6ft3, he’s going to be a handful for any defender, and hopefully for Rodgers’ sake, he can keep fit too and be consistent enough to guarantee a top four finish for Liverpool.
The only drawback for Rodgers? He won’t be redeeming his loyalty points at Southampton with this one…