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Thursday 8 December 2016

West Ham eye cut-price deal for Liverpool's misfiring big-money striker

Mark Critchley

Published 16/03/2016 | 08:32

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke

Out-of-favour Liverpool striker Christian Benteke could be offered an escape route by West Ham United, but only if his current club continue to contribute towards his wages.

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The Belgium international, who earns £120,000-a-week at Anfield, has emerged as a summer transfer target for the east London club’s manager Slaven Bilic, according to The Times.

The Hammers, however, would only be willing to offer Benteke £80,000-a-week at most, opening up the possibility of Liverpool paying the 25-year-old to play elsewhere.

Benteke has scored 8 goals in 27 appearances since he was brought to the club by former manager Brendan Rodgers in a £32.5million move from Aston Villa, which saw him become the club’s second-most expensive signing of all-time.

As a strong yet sometimes cumbersome target man, he has struggled to adapt to new boss Jurgen Klopp’s high-tempo style of play.

Benteke has started just three of Liverpool’s last 16 matches and was an unused substitute in last month’s Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City, having fallen behind his international understudy Divock Origi in the Anfield pecking order.

Marc Wilmots, the Belgium head coach, recently admitted that the striker’s inconsistency and lack of first-team action could bring his place at this summer’s European Championships into doubt.

"It's difficult for him," Wilmots said earlier this week. "Klopp arrived and visibly made his choice. Benteke is going to have doubts now. We've all gone through that. I understand that and regret it.

"He missed the World Cup because of an injury, and missing the Euros would hurt. Now, he has to work. Christian has the time to prove that he can mean something to Liverpool."

(© Independent News Service)

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