With reports suggesting Christian Benteke could become the seventh signing of Liverpool’s summer window, I ask the question- is he actually worth it?
After slipping right at the last hurdle two seasons ago in the race for the Premier League, Liverpool endured a fall from grace last season and slipped out of the top four- with the general consensus that the loss of Luis Suarez severely hurt their attack.
Brendan Rodgers tried to counteract the loss of Suarez with the additions of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli but ultimately he failed spectacularly.
The concern amongst Liverpool fans is their hit and miss record with strikers in the transfer window. For every Fernando Torres, there’s an Andy Carroll and for each Daniel Sturridge, there’s a Lambert, a Borini and a Morientes.
So what Liverpool need isn’t a risky striker, they need a forward that can guarantee goals. One to replace Suarez, which is by no means easy, but one capable of netting 20 goals a season. Benteke’s highest season tally is 15.
Stats emerged in the past few days that showed Benteke has the most prolific Belgian in the Premier League, ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, with 42 goals and eight assists since the 2012/13 season. Decent numbers for sure.
However, last season raised some warning flags. By the time March came around, Benteke had scored just twice in the Premier League and had a further goal in the FA Cup. He scored 12 in the last few months of the campaign, showing a vast improvement.
Put it this way though- that’s a striker that can either score two Premier League goals in seven months, or one that can grab 12 in three. A tremendous risk. Liverpool should have learned their lesson with risks- especially considering this one will cost in excess of £30m.
Sure, Benteke has some stats that impress but he also has others that make you cringe. Also, when you look at it from another prospective, Karim Benzema is linked to Arsenal for just £10m more.
Perhaps a good deadline day signing and alternative should other pursuits fail- but Liverpool shouldn’t be jumping the gun this early and paying such an excessive fee for an inconsistent forward.
Many fans point to the price tag of Raheem Sterling to justify the money invested in Benteke – and that is a valid point. But cast your minds back a few years and you’ll remember when Liverpool sold Fernando Torres for £50million. They then went on to sign Andy Carroll for £35million, and again used a similar reason to justify his price tag – and I bet they regret that purchase.
That’s not to say Benteke won’t be a success. But Liverpool may have to compromise their total football approach if they are to get the best out of a Belgian striker who is devastating in the air. The other expensive signing for Liverpool this window, Roberto Fimino contradicts this approach, so it will be interesting to see how Brendan Rodgers lines up his collection of talent into a functional and efficient starting eleven.