Liverpool are desperate to sell striker Christian Benteke a year after signing him for £32.5M from Aston Villa. Christian Benteke, too, seems happy to go. After all, he currently sits fourth on the depth chart at Liverpool with Jürgen Klopp looking to play a one-striker system.
Sticking around simply doesn’t make sense for the 25-year-old Belgian international. He’s not the right fit, he’s not in favour, and he risks spending the best years of his career on the bench if he stays. That doesn’t mean both club and player are willing to take a cut-rate deal just to be rid of him, though.
With another influx of money into the Premier League, Benteke and Liverpool both think they can end up in a good place financially—the club having made back all or most of their outlay and Benteke on at least the same pay packet—when he completes his move away, likely to Crystal Palace.
Palace, meanwhile, still want a fair deal—even if transfer inflation is quickly skewing the concept of fair deal. They have reportedly offered Benteke wages in the £120-125k per week range. But Benteke’s agent seems to be angling for more. And when it comes to fee, they have offered Liverpool £31.5M.
The straight amount would be enough to get a deal done, but Palace only want to pay £27M guaranteed, with the rest add-ons. And some of those add-ons are for things like Champions League qualification, clauses that Liverpool don’t believe have a chance of ever actually being triggered.
All of that has meant that, over the past week, a deal has seemed as though it’s close but negotiations have continued. Today, it seems Palace may have decided they’ve offered as much as the can, with a report from the Mirror’s Ed Malyon that the London club are considering looking elsewhere.
Malyon is a solid byline in the case, and while he claims Liverpool are looking to recoup all of Benteke’s fee from last summer—a point on which Liverpool-connected journalists disagree—it’s likely that his information comes from those involved in, or at least near to, negotiations at Palace.
The message would seem to be clear. Crystal Palace believe their latest offer a fair one. They believe that a guaranteed £27M plus a few add-ons, even if some of those add-ons likely won’t be realised, is fair. And now they’re drawing their line in the sand. Now we wait for Liverpool’s response.