‘Who got the better deal in the Raheem Sterling transfer?’ – this is a debate that can go on forever. The English winger has joined Manchester City from Liverpool for £49 million, becoming the third-most expensive player in Premier League history. The top two – Angel Di Maria and Fernando Torres, hardly justified their price tag. Only time will tell if the 20 year-old will be able to live up to his potential.
Liverpool though, will know that they need to spend this money wisely. Their ploy to replace quality with quantity last season after selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona badly backfired, as they slipped from 2nd to 6th in the league. They must therefore make sure that the same mistake isn’t repeated this time around as well.
The Reds need a clinical striker up front, and Christian Benteke is a name that has been mentioned time and time again. The Belgian has also been targeted by Manchester United, but Liverpool are going to hold talks in the coming days with Aston Villa.
The Guardian has reported today that the West Midlands club will be ready to sell their star striker only if Liverpool meet his buyout clause of £32.5 million. The 24 year-old has been a consistent scorer for Villa in the last three years, netting 49 times in all competitions. He has been a scourge in Liverpool’s defence several times as well, scoring some memorable goals at Anfield, along with one at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final last year.
According to the report, Liverpool feel that this valuation is slightly higher than their estimate, and may therefore be reluctant to trigger the release clause. Villa manager Tim Sherwood, on the other hand, feels that £32 million is too less for the player and vehemently states that the club do not want to sell him this summer.
“I think Christian is worth more than £32m”, he said. “But we don’t want to sell him. We don’t want the £32m. It’s very hard to spend that sort of money. When you’re losing a player and trying to bring in someone to subsidise it, it’s almost impossible.”
Liverpool have made some promising signings like Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings this summer, but still need a proven goalscorer up front to really push for a Champions League place. Injuries plagued Daniel Sturridge’s season last year, while Sterling’s departure has left another vacancy.