2016 hasn’t been kind to Crystal Palace. By the end of 2015 they were looking at finishing in the top ten of the Premier League, and possibly even looking towards a place in the European competitions.
However after the turn of the year, they won just two Premier League matches and eventually finished 14th, just five points above the relegation zone. It is clear that Alan Pardew must make changes to the squad for next season, and Christian Benteke would be the perfect man to bring in.
It is obvious what Palace’s problem was this season. Defensively they have been pretty solid, and the real issue has been at the other end of the field. The Eagles’ strikers, Fraizer Campbell, Emmanuel Adebayor, Marouane Chamakh, Connor Wickham and Dwight Gayle have scored just nine league goals between them this season.
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Pardew will be given money to spend on transfers this summer, with TV deals meaning every Premier League club is receiving millions of pounds. Given that the rest of the squad is in pretty good shape, signing a striker must be their priority.
Christian Benteke is definitely a man Palace should be looking to bring in. The Belgian has had a tough season, but 51 goals in just 96 Premier League starts over his four seasons in England still represents a very healthy return.
The 25-year-old also has a style that perfectly suits the way Crystal Palace set up. The Eagles are one of the only teams left in the Premier League who still play with two natural wingers, with Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie usually deployed on the flanks. This works well for Benteke, a man who scores a high proportion of his goals from crosses.
It appears that Benteke may be surplus to requirements at Anfield for the coming season. Since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp, the striker has been behind Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge in the pecking order, while Danny Ings will return to the first team next season following injury.
Chelsea have been linked with a possible move for Benteke if they cannot lure Romelu Lukaku from Everton. However, Palace would be a better move for the Belgian because he would be guaranteed regular first team football, quite the opposite to if he moved to Stamford Bridge.
It seems likely that he will be on the move this summer, and if Alan Pardew wants to help take this Palace team to the next level, Benteke is certainly the man to do it.