Christian Benteke may yet be a Liverpool player next season after all.
While reports last week suggested that Crystal Palace were close to agreeing a deal for the striker, Liverpool are holding out for £32.5m – the same fee they paid Aston Villa for his services last summer – and they are refusing to negotiate.
Therefore, Palace’s two bids thus far – a straight cash offer of £25m and an incentivised £27.5m bid rising to £31.5m – have both been rejected by the Anfield club as they hold out for the full amount.
Earlier in the week, Benteke’s agent Kismet Eris told Sky Sports that his client was not close to leaving Liverpool and that he fully expected Benteke to still be at the club next year, especially as he was only one year into a five-year contract.
Having been signed by Brendan Rodgers last summer, Benteke was unable to hold down a regular starting spot under the now-Celtic manager’s replacement Jurgen Klopp – in all, he started just fourteen times for the Reds in the Premier League last season.
With Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino already ahead of him in the pecking order, coupled with the £34m signing of Southampton’s Sadio Mané and return to full fitness of Danny Ings, Benteke might find chances to impress in even shorter supply next season.
One player he won’t have to worry about, however, is Mario Balotelli – the controversial striker has already been told by Klopp that he has no future at the club.
Nonetheless, Benteke remains confident in his own ability to prove Klopp wrong and show his worth to Liverpool. He is due to return to pre-season training in the coming days having been involved in Belgium’s Euro 2016 campaign, where he was knocked out by Joe Allen and Wales in the quarter final.
Crystal Palace (and West Ham) remain interested, but a deal is highly unlikely to happen unless Liverpool lower their demands.
That being said, this has “hastily arranged deadline day transfer” written all over it.