Michael Edwards has famously kept Liverpool’s bank account balanced over the years with his clever clauses and impressive sales. But one bit of business that stands out from the rest was his ability to offload major club flop Christian Benteke for almost exactly what the club paid for him a year earlier.
The Belgium international joined the Reds whilst Brendan Rodgers was at the hilt. He arrived alongside now superstar Roberto Firmino in 2015, but very few people will have predicted such a contrasting future for the two strikers.
Liverpool signed the 29-year-old in 2015 for a fee of £32.5million, making him the club’s second most expensive signing on record at the time. Benteke arrived hoping to be the man the Merseysiders would rely on to fill the gap left by Luis Suarez. With 49 goals in 101 appearances for previous club Aston Villa, he looked like he might just be up for the take.
However, it wasn’t long before both the club and fans realised he wasn’t going to be the clinical No.9 they needed. With just ten goals in 42 games and a tough season in terms of injuries, new manager Jurgen Klopp decided Anfield was not the place for the Belgian.
Just over a year later, Edwards recouped 83% of what Liverpool initially forked out for Benteke, selling him to Crystal Palace for a surprise £27million. The Eagles clearly saw potential in the striker, but in hindsight, they maybe should have looked elsewhere for someone to partner Wilfried Zaha.
Since his move away from Liverpool, Benteke hasn’t just fallen short of the mark for his club, but he’s also been underwhelming on the international stage too. In Belgium’s most recent UEFA Nations League match, the 29-year-old was an untouched substitute, mirroring his last few international fixtures (via Sofascore).
With a portfolio of just 23 goals in 116 Crystal Palace appearances, Roy Hodgson has now started to leave him out of his match day squad completely. In fact, Benteke has been subject to playing with the U23s this year, a rather embarrassing sentence for a senior striker.
The ex-Red was dropped from the Eagles team on 12 different occasions last season, which could spell bad news for him once this campaign is over. As it stands, he will be out of contract next summer unless the club offer him new terms, which seems a very unlikely outcome.
Benteke could be headed to another club in January if Palace are eager to make back at least a small amount of cash. If not, the Belgian will simply gather dust in the reserve league until he is free to walk away as a free agent.