Alan Pardew was the manager of Crystal Palace when Christian Benteke arrived for a club-record £27 million in the summer of 2016.
And, at the time, the Belgian international looked like excellent value for money. After struggling at Liverpool, Benteke rediscovered his golden touch in a Palace team set up to get the best out of his mercurial talents.
Benteke scored 15 Premier League goals in his debut season, saving The Eagles from relegation.
But that form has deserted him dramatically in the last year. Since the start of last season, Benteke has scored three times in the English top flight. And, speaking on the Goals on Sunday podcast, Pardew has now offered a theory about why things have suddenly gone so wrong.
“When we bought him in we thought that would be us (established) as a top 10 team," Pardew, who was sacked halfway through Benteke’s debut season, told the Goals on Sunday podcast.
"The owners didn’t really understand why they were in that relegation area when you have a player of that capability.
“But it all has to fit. He started quite well but he’s lost his way a little bit and he’s struggled to re-capture that form.
“He’s a terrific lad, I really, really like him and I really hope that something falls for him, he gets his goals and his confidence. I think it’s his confidence (which is the problem).
“There is pressure on him to deliver. His all round game has to improve. Somewhere along the line he’s lost that inner confidence that takes you from being a normal player to being a very, very good player.”
Current Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson seems to be completely nonplussed about Benteke’s ongoing struggles but, unfortunately for the former England boss, neither Alexander Sorloth or Jordan Ayew seem capable of scoring the goals required to keep the club clear of a relegation battle.
Have something to tell us about this article?