Liverpool: Crystal Palace back in for Benteke; Balotelli latest; Winger to replace Markovic?
Liverpool’s attempts to offload struggling striker Christian Benteke may be about to receive a boost, with Crystal Palace poised to launch a second attempt to sign the Belgian striker.
After having a £25 million bid turned down earlier in the window, Palace will have to get a lot closer to Liverpool’s £32.5 million valuation of their forward, the same amount they paid to Aston Villa last season.
The figure involved in the potential transfer of Benteke shows that a struggling season at Anfield, which included a meagre nine Premier League goals, has not affected his market value too drastically. After all, he is still a striker in his prime years, at just 25, and is known from his time at Aston Villa to be a lethal force in the air on his day.
Sadly, he doesn’t fit into Liverpool’s style, nor is his finishing ability either good enough or consistent enough for him to cut it in a place as cut throat as Anfield, but a move to South London, where Palace need a centre forward to really push on, would be of great benefit to all three parties.
Another striker who has had a difficult time playing for Liverpool is Mario Balotelli, and his future remains just as up in the air as Benteke’s.
Yet another Italian club declared their interest in Balotelli, with Chievo president Luca Campadelli admitting that the flop forward would be a “dream signing” for his club.
However, much like all Italian clubs who have previously expressed an interest in Balotelli this summer, there appears to be a problem with them being able to afford the deal. Although Liverpool are willing to let the Italian leave for a nominal fee, Balotelli’s high wage demands are putting a number of clubs off from going for a deal.
Liverpool fans will hope that Chievo find the money to afford to bring Balotelli to central Italy and end their nightmare once and for all.
Finally, the Reds have been linked with 21-year-old Ajax winger Anwar El Ghazi in a £15 million move, and could sell Lazar Markovic in order to finance the deal.
El Ghazi is one of the brightest talents in the Eredivisie, and would join fellow countryman Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield if he were to make the move. He has a fantastic mixture of pace, skill and vision, and scored 11 goals in 20 starts last campaign.
The sale of Markovic would be an interesting decision. The Serb has struggled slightly since moving to Anfield two summers ago, but spent last season out on loan at Fenerbahce and much of his first campaign out of position at right wing back.
He may not have proved himself at Anfield yet, but would be a good squad player to have at the club, and he still has plenty of potential to become a very good player for the club in the future. A move out for Markovic in order to bring El Ghazi in would not be like for like, though, as El Ghazi has shown throughout his young career that he is a far better player in front of goal than the ex-Benfica winger.
El Ghazi would be a risk, but probably an upgrade on Markovic. One to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.
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