Despite the fact that they admit they can’t afford Liverpool’s asking price, Besiktas are going to push ahead in their attempts to sign Christian Benteke in what could end up an odd, surreal detour in a transfer saga that has now drawn on for most of the summer.
“Benteke is a great player, but he has a very high market valuation,” Besiktas president Fikret Orman said this week when asked about reports of interest in the Turkish press. “I want Benteke, but Liverpool want a lot for him. It won’t be an easy transfer, but we will see.”
Liverpool previously turned down £25M up front from Crystal Palace for the striker along with various add-ons that could have taken the fee into the £30M neighbourhood the Reds are said to be seeking but which the club didn’t feel were likely to be triggered.
Since then, Liverpool have signalled that they would sooner keep Benteke around for another season than let him go on the cheap. And given their stance in the earlier Palace negotiations, it seems clear that in this case “cheap” is anything less than £30M.
The gamble appears to be that by deadline day, a few mid-table Premier League sides flush with cash from the new television deal will get into a bidding war. The fear, of course, is what happens if that doesn’t happen; if August nears its end with nobody much interested.
That is likely Besiktas’ only chance of landing Benteke, as even at the £25M Palace previously bid for the big Belgian it’s nearly impossible to imagine the Turkish club being able to afford him—especially once you add in the player’s £120k per week wages.
Their only chance is any potential permanent suitors fading away and Liverpool in desperation deciding that a season-long loan would be preferable to seeing his value decrease while he sits in the stands and they pay his entire salary. In that light, “not easy” seems an understatement.
Still, if it gets to the end of the month and nobody in England is willing to pay what Liverpool want for Christian Benteke, Besiktas and their president would like everyone to know they’d be happy to offer a stop-gap solution.