Yannick Bolasie has joined Everton for a deal worth a reported £25 million—potentially rising to £30 million—from Crystal Palace. With just over two weeks to go in the summer transfer window, will this move finally trigger the sale of Christian Benteke—a striker bought for £32.5 million last summer?
Everton's new major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, had promised a big financial commitment this summer and beyond for Liverpool's local rivals. No expense was spared to prise Ronald Koeman from the fine work he was doing at Southampton, and with a big offer being prepared to snatch Lamine Koné from Sunderland, there is now at least a willingness to spend big on the blue half of Merseyside.
If Romelu Lukaku leaves Everton as rumours suggest, Christian Benteke would be the type of player who would suit a Ronald Koeman side. No team played more crosses from open play (696) than Southampton last season. The next two sides? Crystal Palace (689) and West Bromwich Albion (617). The latter two have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old striker, and if Liverpool's asking price of £30 million plus is met, it really shouldn't matter where the Belgian ends up.
The new TV deal for Premier League clubs has provided Liverpool with an opportunity to make a book profit on Benteke as well as recouping virtually the entire transfer fee invested just a year on. For a striker who proved to be unsuitable for Jürgen Klopp in terms of movement and incompatible with the best players at the club, this feels almost like a gift. The truth is that Benteke—a talented striker who would lead the line with distinction for quite a few Premier League clubs—is probably worth that much for clubs in desperate need of a reliable goalscorer.
Benteke is capable of terrorising defenders, dominating in the air, and scoring goals from difficult positions. He also provides a reliable outlet for crosses and long balls, often taking pressure off his side. Benteke's exploits at Aston Villa along with his decent scoring record at Liverpool will probably result in Liverpool's biggest sale of the summer. Liverpool have long maintained that only a fee that matches the club's valuation will trigger a sale, and it appears that with time running out, such an approach will pay dividends.