The Guardian reports that Liverpool are yet to receive an improved offer for Christian Benteke, but the stats suggest Crystal Palace should splash the cash.
Crystal Palace are yet to make an improved offer for Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, according to The Guardian.
The Eagles remain determined to sign a new first-choice centre-forward before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month, with the Belgian international reportedly top of Alan Pardew’s wish list.
Last season’s FA Cup finalists, boosted by unprecedented levels of financial investment provided by American billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer, had a £25 million bid for Benteke turned down last month after missing out on top target Michy Batshuayi.
Despite ranking as the third lowest scorers in the Premier League last season, however, Palace are preparing to begin the new campaign at home to West Brom on Saturday with Connor Wickham (below) as their only fit, senior centre-forward, with the club apparently unwilling to meet Liverpool’s £32.5 million asking price, the same figure they paid Aston Villa for the 25-year-old last summer.
Twelve months ago, Benteke arrived at Anfield as one of the most fearsome young strikers in European football after netting 42 goals in just 89 Premier League appearances for a mostly toothless Villa side.
However, the former Genk striker struggled to settle at Anfield, his physicality and aerial threat completely at odds with Brendan Rodgers’ short, passing game or Jurgen Klopp’s demands for high-paced pressing.
Despite scoring a respectable nine league goals, 15 of Benteke’s 31 Premier League appearances came from the bench with Klopp preferring the mobile Divock Origi or Daniel Sturridge in attack.
Yet, like Andy Carrol before him, there was always an expectation that Liverpool would struggle to accommodate a player who won 7.7 aerial duels per game in three seasons at Villa Park (below).
“I think we cross more balls into the box than any club in the league,” said former Villa manager Tim Sherwood, reported by the Daily Mail.
“Christian says he feeds off crosses. There's no point going to a club where they don't cross the ball.”
Palace, then, appear a perfect fit for a striker in desperate to rediscover the form that encouraged Liverpool to part with a club-record fee just a year ago.
Last season, 24 per cent of Crystal Palace’s attacks came from central areas, the joint lowest in the entire division. They also launched the most crosses per game (26) and the second most long balls (74), according to WhoScored.
With Pardew preferring to centre his side’s attacks around the direct, touchline-hugging wingplay of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and new recruit Andros Townsend (below), Palace appear certain to play to the Belgian’s considerable yet ultimately limited strengths.
However, with West Ham, Everton and Turkish champions Bestikas reportedly circling according to The Guardian, Palace must act fast if they are to avoid another campaign devoid of a double-figure scoring centre-forward.