With the close of the transfer window creeping ever closer, the future of Liverpool striker Christian Benteke remains a hot topic as he looks to beat a hasty retreat from Anfield and get his stalled career back on track. Both Crystal Palace and West Ham United have been priced out of moves for the 25-year old and though it’s rumoured that he’s willing to leave on loan to secure regular first team football, it’s believed that only a permanent deal would tempt the Reds in to parting ways with him.
Although interest from the Eagles, who apparently agreed to match his £120,000-a-week wages but failed to meet Liverpool’s asking price of £30mil, could re-emerge as contenders as the transfer deadline nears, the bit doing the rounds in the paper at the moment is that both Sunderland and Everton are ready to battle over the Belgian. A move across Stanley Park is entirely unthinkable, but Benteke at the Stadium of Light isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. New Black Cats manager David Moyes has admitted that the club were “never off the phone last week” and that he’d like to “strengthen in most areas” as they look to end their reliance on an aging Jermain Defoe in their bid to avoid another relegation scrap.
While there is a possibility that the former Aston Villa man will still be on Merseyside come the start of the season if no one is willing to pony up the cash for him, the same almost certainly can’t be said about Mario Balotelli. Both the Italian striker and his agent know that he has no future under Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, but they’re still holding out for a side in the Champions League for the 26-year old to hook up with for the coming campaign. That, of course, looked like it was going to be Besiktas, but with the Black Eagles distancing themselves from the circus that is the former Manchester City man, once tentative links to Dutch side AFC Ajax are starting to firm up.
Rumour has it that self proclaimed super-agent Mino Raiola has already been in contact with the European giants, but they’re said to be holding off on talks until it’s confirmed that they’ll be playing in UEFA’s top-tier competition. Into the final qualifying round before being alloted a spot in the Group Stages, Ajax could face an unnerving tie with the likes of AS Roma, FC Steaua Bucuresti or AS Monaco, but they could also be paired with FC Rostov or BSC Young Boys — which, for Liverpool anyways, would be preferable as securing a spot in the Champions League might mean they’d be willing to take a punt and finally end Balotelli’s time at Anfield.