Liverpool will reportedly match Christian Benteke’s release clause of £32.5 million this week, clearing a the path for the striker to make an eagerly awaited move from Villa Park to Anfield.
He’s all set to be the club’s second biggest signing ever, a fee that was broken less than a week ago with the arrival of Brazilian forward Firmino for £29 million.
Although positive endorsements have come from club legend Robbie Fowler this transfer hasn’t come without its criticisms from the stands. Here are a few reasons to consider why this move shouldn’t be a top priority for Brendan Rodgers.
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MUCH TOO MUCH
Firstly, let’s be clear. Benteke is not yet worth his £32.5 million price tag. His scoring record may be somewhat promising, and his strength up front a formidable force, but it still doesn’t amount to a sum that high, even with today’s norms.
Despite scoring just 12 league goals last season, he was one of the lifeboats that kept Aston Villa afloat, and Tim Sherwood certainly doesn’t want to let the striker drift away at retail value.
Adding to that, the pressure it'll put on him to perform with such a significant figure involved doesn’t look good either. With the exception of Suarez and Torres, when the reds have paid over the odds for a player, they’ve struggled to gel.
Examples of which include Dejan Lovren, Andy Carroll, Stuart Downing and Alberto Aquilani to name a few from the last five seasons. All four add up to £95 million.
How will he fit into the team’s style of play? This is the biggest question people have been asking.
Liverpool has quickly switched gears from a team with few forwards to having enough to fill a couple of people carriers with. Ings, Origi, and Firmino have all cruised into Melwood this summer, and there are already questions as to where they will fit in, let alone another player to squeeze into the back seats.
But all three of those arrivals are to there to support an out-and-out striker, a box player. Unfortunately, Benteke just isn't Less than half of his Premier League goals have been scored from inside the box.
Although a target man, his manager Tim Sherwood has adamantly said that Benteke “feeds off crosses” and that there’d be “no point” going to a club that don’t cross the ball. Liverpool crossed the ball only 409 times last season, the least in entire league.
Despite splashing on semi-famous Firmino, Rodgers has never been a man to go for marquee signings. He’s rather one to ‘grow’ his team into a winning side than buy one, and with players like Coutinho, Sturridge and Sterling, can’t completely fault that system.
However, looking at the current market, and at how much the club are willing to fork out, they should be assessing whether the likes of Benzema, Gomez or Llorente would be worth bidding for instead, and despite their age, will be more likely to provide results in the short term.