The last week has seen plenty of speculation over Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke’s future and now, reports are linking the striker with a big-money move to China.
Having recently been let go by League One outfit Sunderland, former Wales boss Chris Coleman has taken his managerial talents to the Far East, where he is now in charge of Hebei China Fortune; a club who are clearly keen to live up to their name if links between them and a deal for Palace’s Belgian international are concrete.
Whilst the big man managed to score 17 times in his debut season for the Eagles, the campaign just gone was far less fruitful, with just three goals and six assists attributed to him. As a direct consequence, it sounds as though Roy Hodgson and the Palace board are open to a sale but until now, no one appears to have come forward with the financial muscle-power necessary to turn their interest into a feasible offer.
Palace are well aware that they’re unlikely to recoup the full £27 million fee they paid Liverpool for Big Ben two summers ago, particularly when you take the front-man’s current weekly wage into account. Yes, we’d love to trim £100,000 from our weekly outgoings but finding a club who are happy to take Benteke at that price has proved tricky up until now.
Of course, any deal involving the 27-year-old relies hugely on the player himself being happy to go ahead with it, a fact which may halt any negotiations between Palace and Hebei dead in their tracks. I dare say Christian is still stinging from Roberto Martinez’s decision to leave him out of Belgium’s World Cup squad; with a potential move to China unlikely to aid his chances of making a return to the fold ahead of Euro 2020.
There are plenty of reasons for Palace to explore the possibility of selling Benteke, sadly financial realities make it a tad difficult to engineer from our point of view. Perhaps a “Chinese Fortune Cookie” is the answer? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.