According to the Standard, Chelsea and Everton – one having missed out on Romelu Lukaku, while the other has just sold him – are reportedly keen on signing Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke.
The Belgian, who scored 15 league goals last season, has been in high demand this summer, yet the Eagles are expecting him to be with them next season.
Manager Frank de Boer said: “He’s happy here and we really want him to stay. He made a great impact last season, especially in the second half of the season, and he is crucial to us and we don’t want to sell him.”
The former Inter Milan coach is not wrong.
Benteke was a stand-out performer last campaign, and if the Eagles were to lose him, they’d be a lot worse off. Having been held in such high regard by his boss.
Here are four reasons why Crystal Palace can’t afford to lose their star striker this summer…
The key reason why the Belgian can’t leave is because of his goals. At Aston Villa, he was potent and crucial to their attacking unit. At Liverpool, less so, but with Palace, he is often the man who puts the ball away.
With 15 Premier League goals to his name, he was by far the Eagles top scorer. Wilfried Zaha, who only scored seven times, had Palace’s next best tally.
Not only did the Belgium international find the back of the net regularly, he also found it on crucial occasions as well.
His goals were the difference against Chelsea and Liverpool towards the end of the campaign. These strikes would eventually help keep Palace in the league as well.
Provides a target
While his passing leaves a lot to be desired, Benteke is an integral part of Palace’s play.
The former Liverpool man is dominant in the air and, with his back to goal, he is able to hold up the ball and bring others into the game, before getting on the end of crosses.
His passing accuracy was only 60%, but he completed 163 headed passes, while also winning 53% of his duels.
The Belgian, as a focal point of Palace’s attack, has a great ability in using his body and strength to his team’s advantage.
Not many of the Eagles’ players play at the top of the international scene, but Benteke does. With Belgium, he competes at the highest level and against top quality players for a place in the national side.
While operating at international level, Benteke also has a vast amount of experience from his time at Liverpool.
He didn’t enjoy the greatest success with the Merseyside outfit. Nonetheless, he played in Europe under intense pressure, due his presence at a big club.
This experience, makes him a significantly better player.
Similar to his experience, Benteke is one of the few players Palace have that can really make a difference.
His knack of being in the right place at the right time has helped the club massively and, if they were to lose this, they may not be playing Premier League football much longer.
His partnership with Palace’s other key man Wilfried Zaha has also developed, making the Eagles more potent going forward.