Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.
This is according to talkSPORT’s Liverpool insider Graham Beecroft, who told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show this morning that a deal could be announced as early as today.
"My understanding is Christian Benteke, who has been on their radar for some time, is very close indeed to signing for Liverpool,” Beecroft revealed. "I expect him to sign if not today then certainly in the not too distant future. Liverpool have done their work and have sealed a deal [with Aston Villa]."
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Benteke, if these reports are accurate, will become Liverpool’s sixth summer signing following the arrivals of James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino.
Villa rejected a £22 million offer for Benteke - who has scored 49 goals in 99 appearances for the West Midlands outfit since joining the club from Genk in August 2012 - last month but Liverpool are understood to have increased their bid to £25 million.
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Huge coup for Liverpool and Rodgers
The signing of Benteke would be a significant coup for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who is in the process of overhauling his squad following last season’s disappointing sixth-place finish in the Premier League table.
Rodgers narrowly avoided being sacked following a meeting with the club’s owners earlier this summer, but is the bookmakers’ favourite to become the first Premier League manager to be handed his P45 next season.
That former Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp is currently out of a job, but ready to return to management in January, means Rodgers is under intense pressure to hit the ground running next season - hence the early business in the transfer market.
Rodgers will be expected to get Liverpool back into the Champions League for the 2016-17 campaign - but if that looks an unrealistic objective come November, the Northern Irish manager could find himself sacked.
Benteke will provide goals
Benteke, who has also been linked with a move to Manchester United, will be tasked with providing the firepower that Liverpool lacked last season.
The departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona hit Liverpool hard, especially as Daniel Sturridge missed most of last season through injury. The £16 million signing of Italy international Mario Balotelli, meanwhile, was an unmitigated disaster.
Belgium international Benteke, 24, might not be in the same class as Suarez - but he’s a proven goalscorer with the talent to become a big success at Anfield.
Liverpool fans: is Christian Benteke the perfect striker for your team? How many goals do you expect him to score next season? Have your say in the comments below!