After a summer of waiting, it looks as if Crystal Palace have finally got their man, with Liverpool accepting the Eagles’ £32 million bid for Christian Benteke last night.
Having seen both Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak leave the club in the last week, there had been next to no suggestion that an agreement was even close to being reached for Benteke’s signature, following on from a rejected bid of £23 million plus a possible £7 million in add-ons earlier in the week.
With the mood darkening as a result, plenty of Palace fans were beginning to give up hope of ever seeing the big Belgian in red and blue, but yesterday evening the news we’ve all been desperate to hear finally arrived, prompting jubilant celebrations throughout the Eagles’ fan-base.
Still only 25, the towering Benteke has been labelled by many as a “flop” after struggling to ever truly establish himself at Anfield, but you need only ask Aston Villa fans for their views on him to realise that Steve Parish and co. have secured the signing of a striker who could easily score us between 15 and 20 goals a season if he stays injury free; a luxury that we haven’t been afforded at all during our ongoing four-year stint in the Premier League.
After leaving Villa Park for a self-proclaimed “big club”, Benteke has privately expressed his desire to leave Merseyside in a bid to kick-start his now faltering career. It’s not that he’s become a bad footballer overnight, far from it, but the pressure to perform when not given a regular run of starts has obviously weighed heavy on the big man’s shoulders, prompting him to crave the opportunity to occupy the role of the main striking target in much the same way as he did when playing in claret and blue.
After such a long-running saga, Palace fans will have little to no difficulty in embracing the attributes that Benteke brings to the table, prompting us to hope beyond hope that he is the first man since Glenn Murray in 2013 to score more than 15 goals in a single season.
A medical is believed to be scheduled for him this morning, leaving Palace fans desperate to see the cliched photos of him holding the shirt as soon as humanly possible.
Watch this space.