LONDON: Premier League club Crystal Palace signed Belgian international striker Christian Benteke for a club record of £27million with add ons from Liverpool.
The 25-year-old — who cost Liverpool £32.5million when he joined from Aston Villa last year, but fell out of favour with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp when he replaced Brendan Rodgers — said he was looking forward to moving on. “I’m very happy to commit my future to Crystal Palace and I’m looking forward to meeting the manager, the players and the staff,” Benteke told Palace’s official website. “I feel really happy that the deal has been done and now I can look forward,” added Benteke, who has accrued 51 goals in four Premier League campaigns.
Palace manager Alan Pardew, who had had an earlier bid for the Democratic Republic of Congo born striker turned down, had said on Friday how appreciative he was of his board sanctioning such a huge fee.
Benteke’s fee is over double the previous record fee paid by Palace for the England international winger Andros Townsend, when he moved from the Champioship side Newcastle in July for £13million. “It’s important when you lose iconic players to try and replace them with iconic players,” said Pardew.”We’ve lost two this week, Mile Jedinak [left for Championship side Aston Villa] and Yala Bolasie [signed by rivals Everton].
“Both were massive figures at this club and we will need to replace them with big figures,” he added. “That’s something that didn’t always happen at [former club] Newcastle, unfortunately, so I’m pleased the board have been brave with this move.”
Pardew, who will be relieved to have finally got his man as he had been left with just one fit striker in Conor Wickham, said he had tried to lure Benteke to Newcastle from his first English club Aston Villa. “He’s someone I know very, very well because I wanted to take him to Newcastle,” said Pardew. “I thought he’d be a fantastic fit for that club. He got the move to Liverpool and it hasn’t quite worked out.
“For us, we need to get him back to doing what he does best. His style of play, the way he feeds off crosses. He’ll enjoy that with the wide players we have.”