According to Sky Sports, Belgian striker Christian Benteke is having a medical at Crystal Palace after the Eagles agreed a fee with Liverpool, reported to be in the region of £27million plus £5million in add-ons. It could be a good move for all parties involved.
Surplus to requirements at Liverpool
Christian Benteke never seemed to be a good fit at Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers brought him in from Aston Villa for £32.5million last summer, but the striker did not seem to fit into Rodgers style of passing football.
Rodgers replacement Jurgen Klopp plays ‘heavy metal’ football as he describes it.
It is football that is slick, sharp and can be devastating to opponents at times, as last Sunday’s second half display against Arsenal illustrated.
Benteke does not fit Klopp’s style of football either. The German boss likes his strikers to be mobile and quick. The 25-year-old is not really either of those. Klopp also expects his strikers to chase and harry opposition defenders, again not Benteke’s forte.
Klopp had already suggested that the striker was better off elsewhere, as he would not get much first team football this season. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings all seem to be in front of him in the queue for first team football with the Reds.
Benteke will score goals for Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have been crying out for a decent striker for a long time. Last season’s Premier League goal tally of 39 goals was lower only than West Brom and bottom club Villa in the top-flight. Strikers Dwight Gayle, Emmanuel Adebayor and Marouane Chamakh all headed for the Selhurst Park exit this summer.
Maybe it was for the best considering their measly goal return last season. The Eagles priority this summer always was a striker. Palace were linked with the likes of Chelsea’s Loic Remy and Everton’s invisible man Oumar Niasse, but Benteke could be the shrewdest signing.
The Belgium international is at a good age and has proven in the past with Aston Villa he is a very good Premier League striker. In fact, at some points at Villa, he looked unstoppable. He is big and strong, but a team will not get the best out of him unless they play to his strengths.
Eagles boss Alan Pardew will know the strengths that Benteke will bring to his team. No doubt he will look to use those strengths in his future tactical approaches. The former Newcastle boss is not one that will play a long ball game on a consistent basis.
He likes to use wingers. Yannick Bolasie may have left, but with the likes of Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako occupying wide positions a good centre-forward will score goals in this team. If the Eagles midfield can supply Benteke with a regular amount of chances he will be prolific for Palace.
Top-ten a primary target this season
Palace endured a nightmare end to last season in the Premier League, with maybe their run to the FA Cup final distracting from their league performances. The Eagles finished 15th in the top-flight table, just five points above the relegation zone.
The Palace poor form continued with an opening weekend 1-0 home defeat against West Brom, as they again lacked a cutting edge.
Pardew has some decent quality players available to him and their odds of 4/1 to finish in the Premier League’s top ten this season are not unrealistic at all. The Premier League seems to get more competitive every season and Palace will need to improve if they are to achieve that objective.
If Benteke’s medical goes without a hitch as expected, then Crystal Palace will have just added a very good Premier League striker to their squad. The Belgian international is just the sort of player the Eagles needed and maybe now they will soar in the English top-flight (sorry I couldn’t resist!).
Will Christian Benteke be a good signing for Crystal Palace?