Christian Benteke is finally headed for the exit door at Anfield after his current employers agreed a $35-million transfer fee with Crystal Palace on Thursday, according to every operational news outlet in the UK.
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The 25-year-old striker international had been on the transfer list, seemingly, since the day Jurgen Klopp arrived last October, with the big, physical Belgian no fitting his high-pressing, quick counter-attacking style. Despite being ill-fitting to Klopp’s system for the majority of the season, Benteke still managed to score 9 goals in 29 league appearances in his only season at Anfield (for $50 million last August).
The two sides have reportedly been locked in negotiations for the last week, Liverpool seemingly unwilling to accept anything less than the fee they paid 12 months ago (prior to the collapse of the British Pound). With a hefty fee paid up front, as well as (presumably) performance-based add-ons down the road, all parties involved seem a winner in this deal.
Benteke gets to return to a full-time starting role; Liverpool get their money back for a player Brendan Rodgers signed, only to be fired three months later; and Palace get the kind of line-leading target man they so badly needed last season.
With the kind of service Benteke is likely to receive from Palace’s pacy wingers, and the way he thrives on such service, it’s not hard to imagine him scoring in the neighborhood of 20 times this season and garnering a fee of $45 million this time next year.
Danny Ings will also be allowed to leave Liverpool, with Klopp citing the player’s need for first-team football to be in his best interest.