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January 21 2021 12.23pm

What has happened to Christian Benteke?

November 27 2020

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke

When Alan Pardew signed Christian Benteke for £27million in 2016, the Belgian became the club’s record signing, writes James Blake.

When Benteke signed, he seemed like an excellent acquisition who could go on to fire Crystal Palace up the table.

However, three different managers have taken over at the helm since the club parted ways with Pardew, and Benteke’s star has fallen significantly. Now, it appears as though the former Liverpool man is way down in the pecking order of Roy Hodgson’s preferred strike force.

Working hard in the shadows to get back out on the pitch under the lights ⏳

Posted by Christian Benteke on Tuesday, 2 October 2018

No room for Benteke in Hodgson’s system

It seems like a long time ago that Benteke was considered the number one striker for Belgium. During his days at Aston Villa between 2012 and 2015, the 29-year-old was deadly in front of goal. Indeed, he managed 42 goals in 89 league games for the Birmingham club.

After joining Liverpool for £32.5m in 2015, though, the powerful target man seemed to lose his touch and only lasted one season at Anfield before he was swiftly moved on.

Benteke had one good season at Palace upon joining, where he managed to bag 15 goals and 2 assists. He couldn’t follow up on this early promise, however, and only managed six goals in the three following seasons combined. Now, he finds himself behind the likes of Jordan Ayew, Michy Batshuayi, and Wilfried Zaha in the pecking order of strikers.

Hodgson seems to have struck upon his preferred formula at Palace, and the side made a fairly successful start to the 2020-21 campaign. Thanks to Hodgson making few changes to his preferred XI, the Eagles can be backed at 80/1 to finish in the top four.

This may be worth a punt with an online bookmaker like STS. It will be hard for Benteke to muscle his way into such a settled side, but there may yet be time for Benteke to make a case for himself, if events play out in his favour.

Will Benteke move on in the summer?

It seems as though there is a high chance that Benteke will be moving on in the next transfer window. However, the chances of Palace recouping a significant portion of the money they spent on the player are slim.

It was reported by the Daily Mail that the Selhurst Park club slapped an £8 million valuation on Benteke in last summer’s transfer window, but there were no suitors for a player who has badly struggled for form.

Benteke earns wages of £120,000 per week and is burning a gaping hole in the finances at the club. This is far too much to pay someone to warm the bench, and Palace needs to cut their losses as soon as possible. It may be wise for Hodgson to try to use Benteke as an impact sub throughout the season.

This could allow the striker to gain some form and may turn him into a better prospect for potential buyers. It is a shame that Benteke’s time at Selhurst Park has turned out so dismally.

He was an exciting acquisition when he joined from Liverpool, but unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to the promise that shone through in the early stages of his career. Palace desperately needs to cut ties with the player to free up some finances.

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