The transfer of Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke to Liverpool is now complete after a two-day medical was successfully completed…
Liverpool’s quest to revive their fortunes in front of goal has seen them splash £32.5m on Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.
A statement confirming the Belgium international’s move to Anfield, published this evening on Liverpoolfc.com, began: “Liverpool Football Club are delighted to confirm the signing of Belgium international striker Christian Benteke from Aston Villa.
“The 24-year-old put pen to paper on a long-term contract with the Reds today after successfully completing a medical in London.”
Liverpool slipped from a second place finish during the 2013-14 Premier League campaign to seventh last season, primarily off the back of their struggles to put the ball in the net.
Without Luis Suarez, who was sold to Barcelona for £75m, and for long spells the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge, productivity practically halved from 101 goals to 52.
“It was just clear we needed to score more goals,” remarked Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on the matter earlier this week whilst on the Australian leg of the club’s pre-season tour.
“But I wouldn’t want that to be taken as that the other side isn’t important. I believe that our defensive organisation is critical to allow our talents to flourish.
“You’ve seen on this tour already the idea – our pressing game, the intensity to get the ball back quickly. We can do that when we have all the tools in the squad to score goals and create them.”
On paper, Benteke should certainly help in that regard having scored 42 times in 88 league appearances for Villa since arriving from Genk for £7m in August 2012.
Liverpool have been pursuing the powerful frontman, who has scored five times in his last six appearances against them, all summer and finally agreed to meet the hefty release clause towards the end of last week.
Although conducting a medical and discussing personal terms with the 24-year-old was initially delayed while the two teams negotiated how to structure the £32.5m payment.
According to The Guardian, a solution was found on Sunday and Liverpool will pay around half of the fee up front with the rest staggered throughout the duration of the player’s contract.
Discussing the move, shortly after putting pen to paper, Benteke told the official LFC website: “I think it was the right club for me because I had a good chat with the manager and I wanted to be part of his project…
“When I came here with Aston Villa [it was] a great feeling to play at Anfield. Now, to be in the home shirt is going to be an exciting feeling.”
Benteke becomes Liverpool’s second most expensive signing of all-time, behind the £35m spent on Andy Carroll back in January 2011.
The former Standard Liege man, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will begin training at Melwood immediately, alongside Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can, all of whom have returned to Merseyside after being given an extended summer break.
The quartet are expected to get their first taste of pre-season action against HJK Helsinki in Finland on August 1.
The arrival of Benteke is likely to hasten the departure of Rickie Lambert, but the Reds are still struggling to offload fellow strikers Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini.
His signing could also signal the end of incomings at Anfield if Sky Sports are to be believed.
Benteke is Liverpool’s seventh major addition of the summer with a combined cost of approaching £80m.
If nothing else, we won’t be wanting physically next season with Benteke in the team! Reassuringly, a lot of people who’ve actually worked with the big Belgium have come out in support of the move in recent days, claiming he is much more than just a battering ram. Only time will tell how well he adapts but on paper, alongside Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings, we now seemingly have a well-balanced strike force at our disposal which should be able to adapt to a variety of different situations, tactics and formations. At least Benteke won’t score against us next season now! If you can’t beat them, sign their best player!
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