If there was one puzzle piece missing for Crystal Palace last season, it was a forward who could get them the goals that would take them to the next level. It got to a point where in the middle of the season, they went five games in a row without finding the back of the net.
So it should come as no surprise that there are reports that they have agreed personal terms with Belgian international centre-forward Christian Benteke and have bid £25 million for the Liverpool man. Just when they need someone who could grab them a goal, they turn to a young stallion that has been down on his luck.
The 25-year-old had a pretty first poor season at Liverpool, scoring 10 goals from 45 appearances. He started reasonably well under Brendan Rodgers and even when he was replaced by Jurgen Klopp, there was hope he could thrive next to a manager that reportedly wanted him at Borussia Dortmund.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
That dream never happened. The German tactician wanted a more mobile forward who would disrupt the opposition more, a role that Benteke was completely unsuited for and resulted in him making limited substitute appearances before being frozen out almost entirely.
We would do well to remember his past though and back at Aston Villa, with a team built around his needs, he thrived. 42 goals in 89 appearances should attest to that and the Villains were not the best of teams during his tenure at the club, making that feat look all the more impressive.
He thrived off the service from out wide and his strength in the air is a sight to behold. It’s in and around the penalty spot that he’s most effective, either from getting on the end of a cross or latching onto a ball in behind and converting a one-on-one.
What should really bring optimism is that Palace would be ideally suited to his needs. They have very reliable quality on the wings from the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and new signing Andros Townsend will only add to that, with all of them able to play off the big man in the middle too.
This could be a scenario that, if it happens, will benefit everyone involved. Liverpool will recuperate most of the money they spent, Alan Pardew will get an established top division striker and Benteke can remind defences why he got the move to Anfield in the first place, by playing the kind of football that gets the very best out of him.