Tuesday 27 September 2016

Reds agree £32m deal for Benteke

Chris Bascombe

Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30

Liverpool will be looking to Christian Benteke for goals
Liverpool will be looking to Christian Benteke for goals

Christian Benteke should be announced as a Liverpool player today after the club agreed the payment structure of a £32.5m transfer from Aston Villa.

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Having met the exit clause in Benteke's contract, Liverpool chief executive, Ian Ayre, finalised the terms of the deal with his Aston Villa counterpart, Tom Fox, on Saturday night.

With Liverpool now in Adelaide as part of their summer tour, it was a case of working through the early hours for Ayre, but a deal has been struck and it is understood that Liverpool will pay £16m immediately, with the rest of Benteke's fee due in instalments.

Liverpool doctor, Andy Massey, left the team hotel in Australia to fly back to England yesterday and oversee Benteke's medical, which should be completed this morning.

Train

The Belgian, 24, will not be flying to join the last leg of Liverpool's summer tour, which takes in a trip to Malaysia, and will instead train at Melwood.

Another of Liverpool's major summer signings, the Brazilian Roberto Firmino, will begin his pre-season training at Melwood on Wednesday, alongside Philippe Coutinho.

Assuming there are no last-minute hitches, Benteke will join them.

Benteke has already been in training with Villa, so his fitness levels should be good.

He was due to play for Villa in their tour match in Portugal last Friday, but was left out of the squad as it became obvious his move was a formality.

Once Benteke is in place, Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, will feel that his key summer transfer activity is over.

The club have signed eight players - Benteke, Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner, Danny Ings, back-up goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, youngster Joe Gomez and striker Divock Origi, who spent last season on loan at Lille.

The signing of Benteke is intended to solve Liverpool's major problem of last season - goal-scoring.

The Belgian has been Rodgers' No 1 striking target all summer and, having got him, Rodgers is confident the final element of his new-look team is in position.

Rodgers has reverted to his 4-3-3 system in Liverpool's warm-up games.

Although many are seeing similarities in Benteke to Andy Carroll - a target man Rodgers offloaded in 2012 - Liverpool do not believe that their player profiles have any resemblance.

Benteke is a far more mobile and technically-gifted player, capable of leading the line as a sole attacker, and also utilising his pace and dribbling ability to get beyond defences.

He can fit into a high-energy 4-3-3 formation and meet the physical demands of Rodgers' preferred style in a way it was believed Carroll never could.

Attention will now shift to sales, with Liverpool having several players they wish to offload, particularly Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Jose Enrique, who were not included in the pre-season tour.

Rickie Lambert can also leave.

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