With Raheem Sterling’s protracted move to Manchester City now completed and with Liverpool’s coffers that much fuller, a renewed effort to bring in Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke from the Midlands club is expected in the coming days.
The Belgian hit-man has reportedly told boss Tim Sherwood that he wants to leave Villa Park this summer, but the club have thus far been reluctant to play ball with any potential suitors. A release clause of £32.5mil is built into his contract, but the Reds have been reluctant to meet that fee with a bid somewhere in the region of £25mil rumoured to still be on the table from the Anfield outfit. That, of course, doesn’t look like it’s going to be quite enough.
“I think he stays. I think Liverpool – I looked the other day – have six or seven strikers at the club,” he told Sky Sports News. “Now I’m not sure how many they actually need. We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him,” continued the Villa boss, confirming that he will almost certainly move if his buy-out clause is met. “If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that.”
Liverpool have kept a number of alternatives in mind during their pursuit of Benteke, but with Carlos Bacca choosing to join AC Milan instead of moving to Merseyside, the Reds have been sent back to the drawing board with their other reported option in Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez unlikely to be the first player to move between Old Trafford and Anfield since Phil Chisnall back in the sixties. While there’s still quite a bit of time left for them to scour the market, boss Brendan Rodgers will be keen to avoid the kind of panic buying that brought Mario Balotelli to the club last summer with the Italian looking set to leave after only one season back in the Premier League.