Liverpool’s attempts to sell both Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli have suffered a setback with the news that Besiktas are unlikely to be pursuing a deal for either player.
The Turkish side had expressed an interest in the two available strikers in recent days and weeks, but chairman Fikret Orman has admitted that Liverpool’s £32.5m asking price makes a deal for Benteke impossible, while hinting that Balotelli’s reputation would prevent a move for the former Italian international.
Orman told reporters:
“Benteke is a good player that we would want to see come to Besiktas but his he is valued at a very high price. It does not look like an easy deal,
“I want Benteke, but Liverpool want a lot for him. It won’t be an easy transfer, but we will see.
“Balotelli is a major star but a troubled player. He has got an image.
“We are interested in other players as well. Ideally we want to sign a striker on loan.”
Should Liverpool decide to offload either player on loan, then Besiktas would be likely to return to the table with an offer. As it stands, however, they are almost certain to pursue other avenues.
Indeed, Orman’s comments could be seen as an effort to force Liverpool’s hand – but they have shown no inclination thus far to negotiate so it is difficult to envisage them doing so now.
That being said, the Premier League side are still making every effort to move the pair on before the transfer window closes on August 31st. They have been told that they are not part of manager Jurgen Klopp’s plans – in fact, the pre-season campaign has been running under the pretence that they have already left Anfield.
The club have it quite clear that Benteke will not be sold at a loss. Crystal Palace have already seen two bids rejected for the Belgian international, while Sunderland and Everton are also believed to be interested in the 25-year-old.
As for Balotelli, seemingly they can’t even give him away. A number of Italian clubs have shown a willingness to take him, Chievo being the latest, but he won’t leave the club unless it is to a level he deems worthy.
The chances of either Benteke or Balotelli still being at Liverpool on September 1st are still relatively remote, but the clock is ticking.