Shaka Hislop: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is not a great finisher

The former Premier League goalkeeper is not convinced that reported suitors Liverpool should splurge £32.5 million on the Belgium international.

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is not a good enough finisher to be valued at £32.5 million, according to former West Ham United goalkeeper and now ESPN FC pundit Shaka Hislop.

Benteke, 24, has scored 49 goals in 101 games since joining Villa from Genk in August 2012 for around £7 million but it remains to be seen whether he will be adding to those figures moving forward.

After recovering from the aftereffects of a ruptured Achilles, the Belgian striker ended last season with 12 goals in his final 13 appearances to prompt endless speculation regarding his future.

The likes of Liverpool and Manchester United are now claimed to be after the powerful front man, who manager Tim Sherwood revealed ahead of last month’s FA Cup final has a “quite substantial” release clause in his contract – believed to be £32.5 million [h/t Sky Sports].

Villa had been planning to offer him a new £70,000-per-week deal which would remove the clause or at least raise it but, according to the Telegraph, Benteke has since informed the club that he has no plans to re-sign.

Nevertheless, the report adds that frontrunners Liverpool are reluctant to meet the £32.5 million buy-out fee at this point and Hislop can fully understand why.

Speaking to ESPN FC, the ex-West Ham and Newcastle keeper said: “My complaint about Benteke for the past couple of seasons is that I just don’t think he’s a great finisher.

“He’s decent but not international quality, as a £32.5 million price tag would suggest.

“He’s rediscovering a decent touch after his injury but still not back to where he was and still not world class.”

 Premier League SeasonGoalsTotal ShotsScoring V Shooting AccuracyBig Chances MissedAppearancesMins Played
Christian Benteke 2012-2013 19 104 18% 11 34 2,823
Christian Benteke 2014-2015 13 80 16% 7 29 2,380
Christian Benteke 2013-2014 10 67 15% 14 26 2,128

However, after Benteke’s international teammate Romelu Lukaku was sold to Everton from Chelsea last summer for £28 million, Hislop believes that Villa have the right to hold out for the largest sum possible.

“When Everton paid the money they did for Lukaku, Benteke was keeping him out of the Belgium team,” he added. “So at least there is some bar set there by which we can understand his value.”

Hislop might have some grounds for his comments, given Benteke’s 16 per cent shot conversion rate last season was just the ninth best among Premier League strikers with at least 10 goals, but, considering both his age and top-flight track record, a £30 million-plus fee for his signature does not seem all that outlandish in the current transfer market.

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