Report: Everton chase Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke

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Christian Benteke has emerged as a target for Everton after they sold Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for $96.5 million on Monday.

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Benteke, 26, continues to score goals wherever he goes and he did so last season in a poor Crystal Palace side, netting 17 times for the Eagles to steer them away from the relegation zone.

Sky Sports claim that Ronald Koeman wants to replace one bustling Belgian striker with another as Benteke would slot perfectly into the gap vacated by Lukaku.

Palace are said to be unwilling to sell Benteke but every player has his price. The Eagles paid Liverpool $37 million for Benteke last summer and although his performances at Selhurst Park were up and down, his value is clear with Benteke scoring 66 goals in 154 PL appearances over the past five seasons.

With Everton already adding Sandro Ramirez and Wayne Rooney to their attack for the new season, there is a sense that Koeman may have too many attacking options. However, the Dutch coach said during Rooney’s unveiling on Monday that he would rather have several players chip in with 10-15 goals than rely on one man for 25, with Rooney likely to play in an attacking midfield role.

That leaves the central striking role open for Sandro and another forward, and Everton are said to be interested in signing Olivier Giroud but the Frenchman wants to stay at Arsenal.

As for Benteke, Palace know that Everton have plenty of cash still to spend and that will drive Benteke’s price up as the Eagles aren’t exactly short of cash themselves with American billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer investing heavily in recent years.

That said, a fee of around $55-60 million would surely make Palace sit up and take notice.

Benteke returning to Merseyside and scoring plenty of goals for Everton after his lean spell at Liverpool certainly seems like the direction this tale will take if this deal actually happens.