The summer just gone has seen Crystal Palace break their record transfer fee not once but twice, but how does Christian Benteke’s near £30 million move from Anfield to Selhurst Park rank amongst the biggest deals done across the planet?
Even a year ago, the very idea of Crystal Palace parting with a reported £30 million for a player would have seemed ridiculous, but thanks to a bumper new TV deal, each and every Premier League club have seen their financial clout increased to previously inconceivable levels.
Aided hugely by the sales of Yannick Bolasie and Dwight Gayle, who between them brought in an estimated £38 million; Palace’s drawn out pursuit of Liverpool’s Belgian international certainly raised a few eyebrows across the game, with opinion somewhat split over whether or not the reported sum represented value for money for the South London outfit.
Having already broken their transfer record within the first week of the window when luring Andros Townsend away from recently relegated Newcastle United, Palace’s owners approached this summer with an uncharacteristic desire to bolster the squad with proven quality rather than prudent purchases; evidently hoping that the boost in class would provoke a change in the club’s on-field fortunes after a miserable start to 2016.
No doubt buoyed by the arrival of fellow striker Loic Remy on loan from Chelsea, Christian Benteke has already spoken of his excitement at joining a club who are all set up to play directly to his strengths as a powerful and physically imposing goalscorer. On paper, it might look like a financial risk after a stuttering stint for the big man on Merseyside, but those who have watched Palace regularly over the last year or so are universally aware of the impact Benteke could have on our game if he is used correctly by the coaching staff.
It seems crazy to say that Crystal Palace FC have pulled off one of the most financially lucrative transfer deals in world football this summer, but the above feature shows it in black and white. We’ve come a long way from the likes of Calvin Andrew and Stern John.