If this report from The Times is to be believed, Chelsea could be switching their sights from Romelu Lukaku to Liverpool striker Christian Benteke in their hunt for a new forward.
Whilst there are rampant rumours surrounding Chelsea’s interest in Lukaku, the paper is reporting that steep cost that has been attached to him is putting them off, causing them to seek for cheaper alternatives.
Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that Benteke is not in his plans at Anfield, with the manager rarely keen to play the direct style of football that suits the Belgian forward.
With Chelsea almost certainly on the hunt for a new marksman this off-season, there are very few available with a goalscoring record as good as Benteke’s, and he may just be the perfect fit for the London club as they look to rebuild their squad after a forgetful season.
With that, here are FIVE reasons as to why Christian Benteke might just be the perfect signing for Chelsea this summer…
Whilst Diego Costa appeared to regain his form towards the end of the 2015/16 season, there is no doubting that Chelsea front line was in poor form last term.
Add to that the expected departures of Loic Remy, Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato, and suddenly the Chelsea strike force looks devoid of depth and lacking in quality.
Benteke’s time at Liverpool has largely been considered a disappointment, but you cannot doubt the striker’s goalscoring record, as he scored over 40 in three years for Aston Villa,- a club that he kept in the Premier League largely on his own.
If the striker can remain fit, he could definitely contribute goals for Chelsea, and with Costa frequently suffering from injuries, he might just be able to get a run in the team; something that he has been unable to get at Liverpool.
One of the reasons that Benteke has suffered at Anfield is because his style of play largely doesn’t suit that of Klopp.
Whilst this may be considered a negative at Liverpool, versatility is something that Chelsea managers often look for.
Whilst Diego Costa often seeks balls through the channels, Benteke offers a target man up top, drawing parallels with club legend, Didier Drogba.
In Benteke and Costa you have two strikers that offer completely different routes to goal, and this could be invaluable when looking to break a side that are sitting back; something that Chelsea have often failed to do over the last few years.
The benefits for a Costa and Benteke partnership don’t end there.
Since Antonio Conte was announced as the new Chelsea manager, the main talking point has been how his choice of formations differ to what we often see in the English game.
What most people are referring to here is the fact that he often harps back to the mid-2000s, choosing to utilise two strikers in a 3-5-2 formation.
By understanding that using two strikers is his preferred option, it becomes clear as to why Benteke may quickly become his No.1 transfer target this summer
As we’ve discussed, his style is very different to Costa’s, and as a result this may make them a fine pairing, should they get the chance to play together.
Benteke would act as a hold up player, whilst Costa could spin off and looks for the through ball. Together, they might form a deadly duo, spearheading the Chelsea attack.
There were rumours of Chelsea interest in Benteke prior to his move to Anfield, but it appeared that the club were put off due to his high buy-out clause, set at £32m.
Given his poor form this year, it would not be a surprise to see Liverpool willing to take a loss on the striker, perhaps making him available for closer to the £20m-25m mark.
Whilst still a huge sum of money, in the modern game it is not unusual for strikers to break the £50m ceiling.
There is no doubting Benteke’s natural talent, and should he re-discover his form that price would quickly look like a Bargain for the Blues, especially when you consider the vast sums of money that they have spent on overpriced flops.
The final benefit that Benteke would offer the Blues comes off of the pitch.
We all know how deadly the striker can be on it, but his presence may also help his unsettled Belgian compatriots at Chelsea.
Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard are both rumoured to be unhappy at the club, and if the talk is to be believed, they may look for a route out this summer.
Not only would bringing in a player like Benteke show Chelsea’s desire next season, but it would also add to the Belgian clique at the club, perhaps making the star pairing more likely to stay.
Chelsea simply cannot allow the pair to leave the Bridge this summer, and on the off chance that bringing in a player like Benteke might convince them to stay at the club; it is definitely a risk worth taking.