We should have signed Christian Benteke from Liverpool this summer. Th is is not an opinion born from frustration or panic. Th is is an opinion held at the start of the transfer window and one that is still held now that the window has slammed shut with Benteke stood on the other side of the glass, waving at us in his new Crystal Palace kit.
Yes, £32.5million is a lot of money, but for that, we would have got a striker who can do what all our current strike force can do between them. Subsequently it would probably have saved us a few quid so we could have strengthened our evidently leaky defence. Benteke is a big, strong forward who, given the right service, is a handful for any defender.
He is, in many ways, the striker we brought Andy Carroll to be, but with less of the glass-like-fragility that the pony-tailed one possesses. His heading acumen is up there with Carroll’s, and he is, like Carroll, better with his feet than he is given credit for.
To put it another way, signing Benteke would have meant we could carry on playing the way we do with Carroll, then once he’d battered and bruised his centre back beyond recognition, send Andy on to finish the job.
What a frightening proposition for the opposition that would be. He is also much more mobile than he is perceived to be. Cast your mind back, not just to his time at Villa, but also to the FA Cup replay between West Ham and Liverpool last season. Benteke oft en occupied the channels and was willing to run at defenders.
Had it not been for Randolph’s brilliance, and a lack of confidence on Benteke’s behalf, he would have won the game for Liverpool. In short, he can play the role that we have bought Ayew and subsequently loaned Zaza to do, and off er us a variety in our approach play that Carroll alone does not.
At Palace he will be living off of crosses from Townsend and Zaha and many fantasy football managers up and down the country decided this will be enough to bag him,and them, lots of points. We could be confi dent that Payet, Lanzini, Antonio and Feghouli could have given all parties a similarly profitable return.