Friday 28 October 2016

Liverpool reject £30.5m bid for Christian Benteke as fee is dependant on Crystal Palace making Champions League

Chris Bascombe

Published 17/08/2016 | 15:18

Christian Benteke is seen as surplus to requirements at Anfield
Christian Benteke is seen as surplus to requirements at Anfield

Liverpool have rejected a £30.5 million bid for Christian Benteke from Crystal Palace because the fee was dependent on Alan Pardew’s side qualifying for the Champions League.

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Although the offer – the second of the summer from Palace for Benteke – matches the Merseyside club’s valuation, such are the clauses inserted in the proposed deal it is unacceptable to Liverpool.

Palace offered an initial £23.5 million with a further £7 million in add-ons. Those additional clauses included £2.5 million should Palace qualify for the Champions League with Benteke scoring 20 goals and playing in 70 per cent of the fixtures of such a top-four campaign. These three conditions formed part of the same clause.

Further extras were related to Palace retaining their Premier League status during his contract, but it is the Champions League clause that is most eye-catching in revealing the lofty ambitions of Pardew’s side over the next few years.

Inevitably, this was not considered realistic on Merseyside and Liverpool want much more upfront for the Belgian to proceed with negotiations.

The deal is expected to go ahead eventually, but the £30 million package will have to be reframed by the London club before Benteke moves on.

Benteke has already made it known he is keen to make the switch to Selhurst Park. An offer of £25 million was rejected earlier this summer but it was long expected Palace would revive negotiations.

Benteke, 25, knows he needs to leave Anfield to revive his career. He was barely used in pre-season, albeit he rejoined the squad late because of Belgium’s Euro campaign, and did not make the bench for the season opener at Arsenal.

His days have been numbered since Jürgen Klopp took over. Signed for £32.5 million from Aston Villa, he was targeted by Brendan Rodgers a year ago to try to reverse the former manager’s fortunes.

Once Rodgers left, the shift in tactics by Klopp never suited Benteke and he was a rare starter. On those occasions he was given a chance he was bereft of confidence.

Divock Origi, his Belgium team-mate, is considered a much brighter prospect and Liverpool also have Danny Ings continuing his quest for fitness. Ings is expected to get stronger as the season progresses as he has not yet fully recovered full match sharpness after knee surgery.

Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are the senior strikers. But Liverpool know Benteke is a quality international striker who could excel elsewhere in the Premier League.

Pardew believes he can get him firing again and is desperate for new recruits following an opening-day defeat and the £28 million sale of Yannick Bolasie to Everton.

Klopp has made it known that despite Benteke being out of favour, he would rather keep talent than sell ‘gifts’ to his rivals.

As the transfer deadline draws closer, clubs desperate for reinforcements and players desperate for first-team football will grow increasingly anxious.

Despite the rejection of Palace’s latest offer, it would appear the clubs are edging closer to a deal although West Bromwich Albion are also monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, James Milner has returned to training and is likely to feature at left-back for Liverpool at Burnley on Saturday.

Milner is expected to replace Alberto Moreno having recovered from a heel injury. The former England midfielder, who recently announced his retirement from international football, is to be given the opportunity to establish himself in the role to ensure Klopp does not have to buy a new left back.

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