Despite reports of renewed interest in Christian Benteke, Liverpool have made it clear they won’t be meeting his £32.5M release clause. Villa, for their part, continue to insist they won’t take anything less. If the impasse continues, Liverpool will need to look elsewhere for a new striker.
Over the past week, that new striker has looked increasingly as though it might be Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca, who has scored 49 goals for the Spanish side over the past two seasons and was key in a pair of Europa League title runs. And today, the player’s agent has confirmed that Liverpool have been talking to them.
"We have had lots of interest but so far there has been no official approach," said Sergio Barila when asked about his client’s future. "I spoke with Carlos on Wednesday night and we agreed we need a real solution. Clubs are telling him not to sign anything until they have made an offer but we are still waiting."
"Liverpool and another English club are among those that have shown an interest but there are also clubs in Italy. What is clear is that they must meet the release clause but at this stage nobody has."
As with Benteke at Aston Villa, Sevilla have said that any club wanting Bacca must pay his release clause. In Bacca’s case, though, it’s a far more reasonable £21.5M, and though Bacca is four years older than Benteke, he also seems a far better fit for Liverpool than the Villa man.
Further, while it may be common for agents to name-drop clubs in an attempt to spark bidding wars, in this case a number of English journalists with ties to Liverpool confirmed the interest before Barila spoke up. Liverpool are clearly interested—even if perhaps some at the club, due to age or Premier League experience or any other reason, favour Benteke—and it’s now clear Bacca is interested in Liverpool.
"Sevilla are a good team who will play in the Champions League next season so it wouldn’t be a disaster to stay," Barila continued. "Carlos has other options to earn a lot of money in places like China or the United Arab Emirates but that would not fit in with what he is looking for.
"We are really looking at three things—number one is to have a happy family situation for his wife and son because he had a bad experience in Belgium. The second is to find a good team with a good project. Before he went to Chile, we wrote down a list of clubs that fit that description and Liverpool was on that list.
"The third question is the contract. He has a good salary in Sevilla but we know how much clubs in England can pay."
It all seems stunningly straightforward: if Liverpool meet Sevilla’s demands, Bacca will sign for them. It’s as clear a come get me plea as one is ever likely to hear. And it’s for a player who seems a perfect fit for what Liverpool need right here in the present. Namely goals.
Now the only question is how Aston Villa react to Liverpool’s reported new approach for Benteke. Whichever way they jump, though—accept the £25M or stick to their £32.5M valuation—it may not take much longer for Liverpool to sort out their striker situation.
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