Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Christian Benteke from Liverpool for a fee that is believed to potentially rise to a club-record £32 million, including incentives. The Belgian has signed a four-year deal that will see him remain at Selhurst Park until 2020.
The deal puts an end to a lengthy transfer saga that has lasted the duration of the summer. At times it has even seemed possible that the deal would be off but Palace eventually saw a breakthrough when they finally had a bid accepted earlier in the week.
Benteke brings short but eventful Liverpool spell to an end
The Belgium international only lasted a year at Anfield having signed for a very similar fee from Aston Villa last summer. Benteke struggled to fit the mould of a typical Liverpool striker, with his big frame making him less mobile than the likes of Michael Owen, Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler, and so struggled to find a regular starting place in either Brendan Rodgers’ or Jurgen Klopp’s side.
As the season progressed, Benteke found himself used less and less, even despite a good start under Rodgers that saw him score on his competitive Anfield debut. Klopp opted to use Roberto Firmino or Divock Origi in the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge’s absence to suit the high-energy style that the German preferred, which left Benteke surplus to requirements.
The final nail in the coffin for Benteke was being the only player in a 22-man squad to not feature in a pre-season friendly against Barcelona. The Reds won 4-0 and Benteke's Countryman, Origi, was one of the most impressive players on the pitch, putting him even further ahead of Benteke in the pecking order.
Chance to re-capture Aston Villa form
Benteke’s failures at Liverpool were certainly not down to him being a bad player. The striker made a name for himself as one of the best strikers in the Premier League during his time at Villa and will aim to rekindle his old form under new his new boss, Alan Pardew.
The Belgian striker scored 49 goals in 101 appearances for the Villans and was largely responsible for them retaining their top-flight status during his time at the club.
However, Benteke managed just ten goals in 42 Liverpool appearances last season, although one of which came at Selhurst Park after he had won a controversial last-minute penalty.