On Tuesday, it emerged that Crystal Palace had returned for Christian Benteke, making another bid after an earlier offer of around £25M had been rejected by Liverpool. This new bid, with all add-ons triggered, could have potentially risen to £30.5M, but speculation was that many of those add-ons were highly unlikely.
That left a base bid of around £23.5M that Liverpool would have been guaranteed to receive for the player they signed for £31.5M last summer—most years not a terrible return for a player who spent last season nailed to the bench and currently stands fifth on Liverpool’s striker depth chart, but then, this certainly isn’t most years.
A round of transfer inflation fuelled by a new television deal has seen prices skyrocket this summer. Palace, for their part, have only just completed the sale of 27-year-old winger Yannick Bolasie in a deal worth £25M that itself could potentially rise to £30M. Meanwhile, strikers like Troy Deeney have been given £30M price tags.
In that market, and with a number of mid-table and bottom-half sides desperately looking for striker help, it isn’t unreasonable that Liverpool would seek more up front than £23.5M. Or at least that they would seek a deal with add-ons that are more likely to be triggered, based on today’s revelations in The Telegraph.
According to Chris Bascombe, the clause that caused the most disbelief amongst those involved in the potential deal at Liverpool was a £2.5M clause that would have required that Palace qualify for the Champions League with Benteke scoring 20 league goals and playing in 70% of their fixtures. That was all one clause.
Another clause required Palace to remain in the Premier League for the duration of the contract Benteke would have signed with them. Though more achievable, it’s a clause that would have taken at least four or even five seasons to be triggered. Now, then, the question is whether Palace returns with a deal Liverpool can accept.
According to The Telegraph, at least, they are expected to try again this week. Liverpool, for their part, have insisted that they would rather keep Benteke on hand as an emergency option for another season than to send him to another Premier League club for a bargain fee.