For the past few weeks, reports from journalists with ties to the club have insisted that Liverpool would not exceed their £25M valuation for Christian Benteke. While he might have been their top striker target, all signs pointed to them being unwilling to match his £32.5M release clause, which is what Aston Villa have insisted all along it would take.
If reports in the Express are to be believed, it is Villa who have won the impasse between the two clubs. Liverpool, they claim, have blinked first, and have decided to pay Benteke’s release clause in full in order to ensure the striker gets a full pre-season with his new club, something that is of particular importance given Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined by injury.
Liverpool set a maximum and threatened to look elsewhere, but Villa were never especially interested in turning a profit on Benteke’s sale, considering him more important to the club’s chances than any financial windfall. And in the end, Liverpool are having to come to grips with that: Villa aren’t interested in dealing, and so if they want Benteke they must induce a sale.
This will not help to calm Liverpool fans who were already skeptical of Benteke’s value and fit for the club, even at the £25M Liverpool were reportedly willing to go up to. Still, if it really is a case where Brendan Rodgers wants Benteke and sees no other viable options, there is a case to be made for accepting that and getting the deal done quickly.
Certainly Liverpool need a new striker in before the season kicks off and avoid repeating the mistakes of last summer, and with only a month to go time is starting to run out. At £32.5M, though, many will be worried the club are repeating a whole separate set of mistakes. That is, of course, assuming that the Express have any special insight into the situation.
They aren’t, at the end of the day, an outlet with particularly strong ties to Liverpool. There is more than just the one party in this transfer saga, though, and the tabloid is unusually strenuous in their insistence that the deal will be done within the week—and that it will be for the full £32.5M Aston Villa have said all along that it would take.