Rarely has a prospective signing divided opinion among the Reds faithful to such an extent as that of 24-year-old Aston Villa hitman Christian Benteke. The Belgian , to the woe of many scousers , has been Brendan Rodgers’ top target this summer. The major factor driving this debate is the reported £32.5 million fee that Villa is demanding for the striker, who , since moving to the club from Genk in 2012 , has blossomed into one of the most potent strikers in the league.
Benteke’s record of 49 goals in 101 appearances for Villa is praiseworthy of any striker in Europe playing for a top team , let alone for a marksman who has been plying his trade for a team who have narrowly avoided relegation thrice in a row, thanks in no small part to his goalscoring heroics. But, it is simply a case of “once burnt, twice shy ” for Liverpool who have experienced spectacular failures of such big money strikers in the not-so-distant past in the form of Andy Carroll and Mario Balotelli.
The fan base is divided as to whether the big,burly Belgian International will fit into Rodgers’ preferred style of play , and some have gone to the extent of labelling him a failure even before he has donned the club’s jersey. However, Benteke’s status as a proven Premier League striker is underlined by his impressive tally of 42 goals in 89 league outings for Villa , and with other transfer options like Carlos Bacca and Gonzalo Higuain either dwindling or much too expensive , Rodgers has finally decided to meet his release clause of £32.5 million.
The Daily Star has reported that Benteke is set to become the Kop’s seventh summer signing later this week, once the clubs agree a fee for his services. Reports in the Express have also claimed that the striker has hit heart set on a move to Anfield and will snub any other offers he receives.
News of Arsenal’s and Tottenham’s interest have been doing the rounds , as have the links with Chelsea been mooted, but it finally appears that Liverpool are heading the queue for his signature. An announcement on these developments is expected later in the week.
Whatever the reasons cited for Liverpool signing him or not , if Benteke can keep up his tremendous goal scoring record playing for the Kop , he can be guaranteed that his name will be sung out loud in the hallowed Anfield. For Liverpool supporters , hope lingers that their newest recruit can fire them on to the ever elusive title and provide the one thing they have long been missing since the SAS was broken – goals.