Thursday, March 30, 2017

Not for sale! Allardyce wants to keep Benteke

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Jan 2017

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Sam Allardyce insists Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is not for sale, despite speculation he is set for a January exit.

The striker, signed for a reported £32million from Liverpool in August, has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, while West Brom have also been credited with an interest.

That comes after Benteke failed to score in five consecutive Premier League matches, with reports Allardyce was willing to sacrifice him in order to fund moves for a string of transfer targets.

But the Eagles boss wants the Belgium international to remain at Selhurst Park and spearhead Palace’s bid to avoid relegation as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

“Unless the chairman knows any different from me, Christian Benteke is not for sale,” Allardyce said ahead of Palace’s match at West Ham on Saturday.

“I think he will be available for this weekend and I’m planning on him being here at the end of this window.

“He has scored eight goals already and he has got a big part to play. If he gets on the field and scores me a goal I will be very happy.

“We have to play better off Christian. He is a very important player who we have to keep in the game as much as possible, feeding balls into his feet and chest and for him to hold it up and we spring off him.

“Everyone has to play better at the moment. Everyone has to up their game, not just Christian.”

Allardyce revealed he has made up to four bids for players so far and is keen to see Palace get a first January signing under their belt.

The Palace manager added: “We have got three or four bids in for players at the moment, I’ll find out whether they have been accepted later [on Thursday].

“My interest is to strengthen the defensive areas at this time. Strengthening attack is not my priority – keeping clean sheets is a priority for me.

“It is imperative we stop letting goals in. We may look at other areas once we strengthen those defensive areas.

“One [new player] would be nice to start with! We have been very busy without great success at this time. 

“Our aim last week was to have secured those defensive players we wanted by the end of this week. We are trying our best, prices are steep.”

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