Liverpool's pursuit of goals this summer is barely underway, but if reports on Thursday night are to be believed, they're going to rule themselves out of a chance at any further attacking support by Monday afternoon if their chase of Christian Benteke proves successful. In the build-up to the FA Cup Final, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood revealed that the 24-year-old has a buyout clause, which Liverpool are widely expected to meet shortly after the occasion dies down at Wembley.
Meeting the buyout clause wouldn't be the worst thing in the world were it not for the amount; Benteke is a gifted striker who's proved himself capable of scoring goals in England's top flight when fit, and in a system that caters to his preferred style, he's got the potential to be a regular fixture among the Premier League's top goalscorers for years to come so long as he remains fit and takes his chances.
But meeting the buyout isn't a small matter, as Sherwood provided a figure to the press that should turn Liverpool away quickly, left to admit defeat and pursue the lowly likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette or some other continental also-ran. That buyout is at £32.5m, a sum that would almost certainly leave Benteke and Danny Ings, who expects to decide between Liverpool and Spurs before heading to the Czech Republic for the U21 Euros, as the only strikers to join the club this summer.
The outlay between the pair would total near £40m, as Ings' tribunal fee will likely be inflated by Spurs' £12m bid in the last few days. The Burnley forward won't end up costing Liverpool that much, but it will surely be more than the £4m they had expected to pay when news of the deal first emerged back in January. Barely into the month of June, and it would be hard to see Liverpool spending much more on another forward, especially if they hold firm on Raheem Sterling's future.
Nothing is final, of course, and other teams--Chelsea and Manchester United are also interested, according to the Telegraph--may yet prove more attractive to Benteke, including his current home, which Sherwood insists is best for him ahead of the 2016 Euros. But with so much up in the air, it's still a worrying sign for Liverpool's summer plans that they'd be willing to splash that kind of money so early on a player that, while clearly talented and capable of success, seems an odd fit and not necessarily one who should require an entire summer's worth of spending.