Liverpool need a striker this summer. Liverpool have needed a striker since they sold Luis Suarez last summer and failed to adequately replace him. Liverpool have also so far appeared almost single-mindedly focused on making that striker Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke.
There’s just one problem: Benteke now looks like he may end up at Manchester United. United had wanted to bring in Harry Kane or Karim Benzema, but having failed in their efforts, have now targeted Benteke as their preferred Plan B. And they appear undaunted by his £32.5M release clause.
The powers that be at Anfield could panic and exceed their £25M valuation for Benteke, but even that seems high for a player who is a questionable fit for Anfield and Brendan Rodgers—and frankly seems a far better fit for Manchester United and Louis van Gaal. They might also look elsewhere.
That elsewhere could turn out to be France, where Lyon manager Hubert Fournier stopped just short of hanging a for sale sign around the neck of star striker Alexandre Lacazette today. He can claim he isn’t looking to sell, but a club not looking to sell wouldn’t publicly slap a quite reasonable price on their star.
"I’m not worried at all about Alexandre," Fournier told L’Equipe when asked about the striker’s future. "Of course, if a €50-60M bid was to be tabled, I would no doubt have to prepare for his departure and wish him the best of luck. I really feel that he does want to stay, though."
Thanks to the deflated Euro, €50-60M works out to around £35-42M, and at the lower end it should have clubs queuing up to bid for one of the best young strikers in the game. Which is what one imagines Fournier is hoping comes as a result. Even nearer £40M, though, wouldn’t be unpalatable.
Benteke is good. But Lacazette is a faster. He’s more technically skilled, a harder worker, and better finisher. And, like Luis Suarez when he arrived at Anfield, he is a player on the cusp of superstardom. He has also been linked with moves to Arsenal and Manchester United this summer.
If United are going for Benteke, though, it almost certainly means they’re out of the running for Lacazette. That does leave Arsenal, and head to head it’s likely the striker would chose a London club in the top four if given the chance, but fear that Arsenal might bid cannot stop Liverpool from trying.
Lacazette is there. He’s available for sale—and for a quite reasonable price, too. With Benteke looking set to head to United, it’s time for Liverpool to stop being so single-minded in their pursuit of him and at least make an effort to land a player who is both better and a better fit.