Liverpool have moved quickly to re-invest their revenue from the sale of Raheem Sterling by announcing the capture of Aston Villa Striker Christian Benteke.
The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £32.5 million with the club doctor returning from the pre-season tour of Australia to carry out a medical on the Belgium International. The 24-year-old joined Villa from Genk two years’ ago for £7 million and scored 49 goals in 101 appearances for the club.
Liverpool were widely tipped to sign Benteke this summer despite there being two years remaining on his contract. He became hot property at the end of the season with 12 goals in as many games as Villa avoided relegation under newly-appointed Tim Sherwood. Liverpool are understood to be paying half of the fee up front, although Benteke will not be joining his team-mates for the remainder of their tour.
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The signing caps a hectic summer of transfer dealings by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as the club look to rebuild after last season’s disappointing sixth-place finish. There was speculation that the club were losing faith in Rodgers’ leadership, especially with the sacking of assistant manager Colin Pascoe and the decision not to renew the contract of first team coach Mike Marsh. Any suggestions that Rodgers’ job was in danger were rebuffed at Anfield and the owners have funded a second successive transfer frenzy.
The arrival of Benteke could trigger further departures from Anfield. Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini will all be contemplating their futures after the summer reshuffle. Lambert is a possible target for West Brom while Lazio are thought to be contemplating a move for Balotelli. The Italian was bought as a replacement for Luis Suarez but he managed just one Premier League goal in a miserable time at Anfield.
Rodgers had already signed Danny Ings from Burnley and England International Daniel Sturridge as striking options. Sturridge made only 18 appearances in an injury-hit campaign last season and is unlikely to be fit to return until September. He was forced to undergo further surgery after a hip injury in April.
Liverpool have already added Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Bogdan, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and James Milner to their squad this summer. With Steven Gerrard having departed to America, the side will be virtually unrecognizable from that which stormed into second place just over a year ago. The owners will be looking for a much better return on their investment this season.