Liverpool are preparing to make a big-money move for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, according to reports.
ESPN claims Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is now ready to make an offer for the Belgian hitman following the sale of Raheem Sterling, who joined Manchester City on Tuesday evening for a fee rising to £49 million.
That puts extra cash for players in the club's coffers, although Liverpool have already strengthened with Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Danny Ings arriving on Merseyside.
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Benteke would be the most expensive addition if Rodgers were to secure his signature, with Villains boss Tim Sherwood holding out for the £32million buy-out clause that is in his current contract at Villa Park.
It's a fee that doesn't appear to have put off Rodgers though, with the website going on to claim that the 24-year-old hitman is still the number one Anfield target.
Benteke would certainly offer something different to the trio of Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli, with the former Genk star reaching double figures in the Premier League for three consecutive seasons since his move to the midlands.
ESPN go on to report that Liverpool are still hoping to negotiate a lower fee for the 24-cap international, but that they aren't alone in their interest for the player. Manchester United and Chelsea are also keen, according to the speculation, which means the asking price is likely to remain fixed.
Liverpool haven't been afraid to splash the cash on players before, famously spending in the region of £35million to bring Andy Carroll to the club from Newcastle. Supporters would be hoping for significantly more success if Benteke were to arrive at the club before the window slams shut on September 3.
Before then, Rodgers' side must conclude their pre-season business in the Far East, and it was a solid start in Thailand on Tuesday as the Reds ran out 4-0 winners against a Thai all-star team in Bangkok.
Divok Origi, signed last summer before spending the campaign on loan at Lille, was on the scoresheet, and the youngster will be hoping to impress whilst the opportunity remains his. The arrival of his compatriot will only make first team chances harder to come by.
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