Crystal Palace have endured an inconsistent start to the season but reports claim that the club are set to reward Christian Benteke with a new deal at Selhurst Park.
According to The Evening Standard’s Jack Rosser, Palace chairman Steve Parish has offered Benteke’s representatives a contract extension to avoid losing him for free next year.
Palace have several players who are out of contract in the summer, with Benteke, Patrick van Aanholt and Gary Cahill chief amongst them.
It’s claimed that the Belgian striker is happy at the club but he could change his mind if he doesn’t get enough game time before the end of the season.
Benteke was billed with so much promise upon his arrival at Selhurst Park but has turned out to be something akin to a poisoned chalice.
The Eagles signed the Belgium international from Liverpool for a club record £27m in 2016. Since then, Palace’s record signing has been nothing short of a damp squib, having scored just 23 times in 121 appearances in all competitions, which is a pretty measly return by anyone’s standards.
However, this time there is a method to Parish’s madness, or so it may seem at least.
The 29-year-old, who is one of the club’s highest-paid players, hasn’t scored since the 3-2 defeat at home to Chelsea last season, having failed to find the back of the net for the first team so far this season.
Despite his struggles, the Eagles gave Benteke an extension last year to keep him at the club until the end of the current campaign. Whilst a move failed to materialise, despite links to Spurs, tying him down to a new deal would give Palace the chance to try and recoup even a fraction of the price they paid the Reds for him in 2016.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Darren Bent believes his former Aston Villa teammate may never rediscover his best form, saying: “I can’t believe it because I was with him at Villa. He took my place at Aston Villa. So when I think about it everything was tailor-made for him. Every free-kick we hit was ‘hit Benteke,’ every goal kick, throw in, we just hit Benteke but that season, he could not stop scoring.
“And to see him in the form he’s in now and to go so long without a goal, I can’t quite understand it because he was honestly brilliant at Aston Villa. Even some of the finishes, the chests and volleys, every time Aston Villa needed a goal, Benteke would come up with it.
“Now to see that Benteke there and to see the Benteke that we see today at Crystal Palace where he can’t buy a goal, I can’t quite understand what’s happened there. Confidence is massive but the way he’s playing at the moment it’s like he’s got no confidence left.”
Parish must cash in on Benteke at the earliest opportunity, to put it mildly, but in order to so, he needs to convince him to sign a new contract to prevent him from leaving as a free agent in the summer.
The Belgian has received plenty of interest from China in the past, including from Marouane Fellaini’s Chinese club Shandong Luneng Taishan. Benteke currently earns £120,000-a-week, which Chinese Super League clubs would be able to double with ease.
If a club can meet their asking price, it will then allow Parish to reinvest the funds into the first team instead. Valued at £8m via Transfermarkt, even a transfer fee in this region would go some way towards revamping Palace’s ageing squad, which is the oldest in the Premier League by quite some margin.
There’s no doubt that losing their record signing for a fraction of the price they originally paid for him would be a bitter blow, but when push comes to shove, Palace may just have to bite the bullet and accept a cut-price deal.
AND in other news, Bye Benteke: Parish must sign Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud for Crystal Palace…