Wednesday 21 March 2018

Liverpool to offer Borini to break Benteke deadlock

In demand: Aston Villa's Christian Benteke
In demand: Aston Villa's Christian Benteke

Ian Herbert

Liverpool maintain hopes that the deadlock could be broken in talks to sign the Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, though no bid has yet been placed.

Manager Brendan Rodgers still wants to add another proven goalscorer to Liverpool's ranks, despite the signing of Brazilian Roberto Firmino last week, and the club are trying to be imaginative as they seek a way through the main stumbling block: the £32.5m escape clause in the Belgian's contract which Villa have set as their valuation and the Anfield club categorically will not meet.

Liverpool may offer players to Villa as part of a deal, with Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini both forwards who have little prospect of featuring next season.

Their options narrowed yesterday as Liverpool stepped away from negotiating for one of the alternative targets, Seville's £21m Colombian Carlos Bacca, who is now destined for Milan.

The escape clause valuation for Bacca, - a 28-year-old with little potential resale value, was just not attractive enough to Liverpool. The club also know that negotiations over Zenit Saint Petersburg's Venezuelan Salomon Rondon could be complicated, though he remains a possible target.

With Manchester City expected to make a third bid for Raheem Sterling any day, another striker will be pursued by Liverpool.

The speed with which they wrapped up the Firmino deal revealed a determination to act boldly and to prevent the club being gazumped as they have been in recent years for such targets as midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who went to Borussia Dortmund, and Willian, who favoured Chelsea.


The Blues, meanwhile, are understood to have agreed a deal to sign the Brazilian striker Kenedy and are monitoring developments over another striker, the Serbian international Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Kenedy, 19, is due to become the eighth Brazilian player on Chelsea's books in a deal worth around £6.3m.

An agreement has been reached with his club, Fluminense, who sold his economic rights to an investment group, who are then selling the under-20 international on to Chelsea.

That deal is believed to have been agreed, with Chelsea then having to decide whether they loan Kenedy - Robert Kenedy Nunes do Nascimento - or keep him at the club, and how to deal with the issues around acquiring a work permit.

Chelsea recently struck a deal to acquire another young Brazilian, the attacking midfielder, Nathan, also 19, for a fee of around £4.5m. (© Independent News Service)

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