Following a chase that began well before last season had ended, Liverpool have today officially completed the signing of Christian Benteke. The striker arrives from Aston Villa after three successful seasons with the West Midlands club, where he scored an impressive 49 goals in 100 total appearances in all competitions.
The £32.5M fee, with £16M to be paid up front and the balance dolled out in instalments over the next few years, is a major investment for the club. For a striker who has averaged a goal every two games in England entering his prime, though, it isn’t exorbitant. At least if he proves to be a good fit, which Benteke at least believes he can be.
Transfer Scouting: Christian Benteke
With Christian Benteke’s transfer to Liverpool seeming more a question of when than if, we take a closer look at what the controversial Belgian would bring to the table for Liverpool.
"I think it was the right club for me," said the big striker when asked about his desire to make the switch to Liverpool this summer. "I had a good chat with the manager and I wanted to be part of his project. When I came here with Aston Villa, [it was] a great feeling to play at Anfield. Now, to be in the home shirt is going to be an exciting feeling."
With only Friday’s match remaining on their pre-season tour, Benteke will not join up with the squad main, instead training at Melwood over the next few days with fellow new signing Roberto Firmino and the late returning Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can. Still, most will be expecting him to start when Liverpool kick off the new season against Stoke on August 9th.
"I know it’s a big club," Benteke added. "They’ve won league titles and the Champions League five times and of course the UEFA Cup and a lot of trophies. I think there are quality players, a lot of good players with big names of course, [so] I’m happy to be part of this team and will try to help the team reach its goals. I’m very excited."
Benteke is Liverpool’s seventh signing of the summer following Firmino, James Milner, Danny Ings, Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez, and Adam Bogdan. Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Sebastian Coates, Glen Johnson, and Brad Jones have left. Accounting for the portion of Sterling’s fee owed to QPR, Liverpool's net spend stands at approximately £40M.