Liverpool give in to Villa over £32.5m Christian Benteke
Liverpool have bid £32.5m for Christian Benteke, their top summer transfer target.
After weeks of negotiations with Aston Villa - the Reds initially refused to match the asking price - there has been a change of mood at Anfield over the past 24 hours. Chief executive Ian Ayre made a formal offer yesterday to activate an exit clause in the striker's contract.
With Villa now helpless to prevent Benteke's departure, further negotiations will focus on the staggering of payments, as the clubs determine how much of the fee is paid up front.
The 24-year-old is thought to be eager to join Liverpool. His imminent arrival will come as a relief to Reds manager Brendan Rodgers, who has been eager to secure his services of the striker since the end of last season. He will be keen for the player to join the club's pre-season preparations, which are continuing in Australia.
Liverpool first made contact with Villa last month with a valuation between £20m and £25m, but the Midlands side were not interested in dealing at that price.
In recent days there have been suggestions Manchester United were preparing to meet the Belgian's sale clause. There was some cynicism, however, regarding the strength of United's interest and whether it was exaggerated to prompt Liverpool into action. Whether that is the case or not, Rodgers knew the longer the issue dragged on the greater the risk a rival would step in.
He could not afford a repeat of last summer when Alexis Sanchez was the top target to replace Luis Suarez, but his decision to join Arsenal had a catastrophic knock-on impact in the final weeks of the transfer window. Liverpool ended up having to take a risk, culminating in the purchase of Mario Balotelli.
Benteke is likely to be Liverpool's final signing of the summer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)