West Ham United look set to make up to a £25 million bid for Christian Benteke this week, according to the Daily Mirror. Interest from the East London side isn't new after one of the owners -- David Sullivan -- confirmed this in March. Wages were cited as a potential barrier to launching let alone completing a deal, but if this rumour is true, it appears that the two Davids in charge of West Ham think a deal can be done.
The smoke for this transfer rumour has originated from Sullivan's words ahead of the last-ever game at Upton Park against Manchester United. He spoke of a sizeable bid for a player in England, and considering his stance on Benteke a couple of months ago, it's likely to be for Liverpool's 25-year-old striker. West Ham have players who can bring the best out of a target man, shown by the potency of Andy Carroll -- another expensive target man who couldn't fit in at Liverpool -- when fit.
"We put in a bid today for £24m for a player, and other bids will be going in," David Sullivan teased in the final week of the Premier League season. "We are going to make a £20m-£25m bid for a player in England this week. So whatever happens we’ll bring a top striker in. It’s a statement of intent. We’ll spend between £30m and £50m on transfers this summer. But you’ve got to build it up gradually. You can’t compete with the likes of Man United overnight."
If Benteke's "long-term contract" at Liverpool lasts for five years, his value on Liverpool's accounting books would be amortised to the value of £6.5 million per season. Selling Benteke for £25 million would only result in £1 million loss in the books after his sale. West Ham probably wouldn't go in with a first bid as high as £25 million for a player Liverpool paid just £7.5 million more for. Start lower and agree on £25 million? That appears to be the message.
On the pitch, Liverpool seem well-stocked with Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Danny Ings, and Roberto Firmino able to play as the lone striker in Klopp's preferred single-striker system. Ings injured his knee in a Klopp's first training session, but over the course of the season, Benteke has ended up as essentially a reserve striker. Sturridge's durability remains a question in spite of the player's sharpness over the last six weeks or so, but even if Liverpool were to strengthen in the position, it would only push Benteke even further from starting regularly.
Benteke hasn't had the season he would have liked at Liverpool and is certain to leave this summer. Bought for £32.5 million on the recommendation of Brendan Rodgers, the former Aston Villa striker has struggled to fit in with Jürgen Klopp's preferred way of playing along with failing to gel with other attacking players. Although he has shown his quality at times, the lack of movement and pressing in his game simply didn't fit what the club needed.
It must be pointed out that Belgian international has won quite a few games for Liverpool with his goals and appears to be a solid, dedicated professional. Questions over fitness, suitability, finishing big chances, and enhancing the talents of the key players are doubts that haven't been answered. If this move eventually happens, it should be a satisfactory one for all concerned.