After arriving from Belgian side Genk in the summer of 2012, Christian Benteke set about trying to dominate Premier League defences up and down the country.
The towering centre-forward blended real power with some deceptive footwork, and it was little wonder that then Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was quick to hail his new number nine.
He said at the time: “Christian is only 21 but already he’s an established Belgian international and he’s had a terrific time at Genk. He’s something very different to what we have here and that added dimension will enhance the football club. A young lad he may be, but he’s definitely a handful. He’s tall, powerful, he has pace and we’ll be stronger with him in the side.”
And in the 101 games that he ended up playing for Villa, he more than showed that he was worth every penny that the club spent on him. He scored a very impressive 49 times and even provided another twelve assists too, and was involved in some spectacular individual and team goals – the back-heel to set up Andreas Weimann’s strike in a 3-1 win against Liverpool at Anfield still lives long in the memory.
But after moving to the Reds in a big-money deal in 2015, Benteke’s career has sadly gone downhill. The Belgian never truly flourished at Liverpool, and looked out of sorts with the more counter-attacking and intricate style of play employed by the Merseyside club.
That eventually saw him leave to join fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace, where things have failed to work out once. In 117 games for the Eagles, he’s managed to find the back of the net just 23 times.
And if to emphasise just how much he has struggled, the striker has seen the most of his game-time in this new season with Palace’s U23s side, playing 45 minutes against West Brom at Premier League 2 level.
Make no mistake about it, former Villa owner Randy Lerner delivered a masterclass by cashing in on Benteke when his stock was at its highest.