Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is expected to undergo a medical today at Liverpool, after the Merseyside agreed to activate the £32.5m release clause in the Belgium international’s contract.
Liverpool’s club doctor is flying back to the UK from their tour of Australia to complete the medical within the next two days.
However Benteke, 24, is not expected to join up with his new team on their pre-season tour.
Liverpool made their move following the departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for £49m, which freed up funds for a spending spree.
Benteke, who has scored 49 goals in 101 appearances since joining Aston Villa, will be expected to provide a greater goal-scoring threat for the Reds, who struggled in front of goal last season after losing star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
Yarlomenko on Stoke’s radar
Stoke City are prepared to break their transfer record for Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko, who currently plies his trade with Dynamo Kiev.
The Potters were linked with the 25-year-old wide man last summer but failed to secure his services. However, the Premier League club have returned to the £15m-rated Ukraine international after failing to sign both Xherdan Shaqiri and Yevhen Konoplyanka – proof that Stoke’s project to attract high-profile names is still a work in progress.
Manager Mark Hughes is thought to be happy with his overall squad, and is only interested in adding players of the highest quality, as opposed to bulking out the team with less gifted players.
That means he is ready to pursue targets that might not be guaranteed in the month-and-a-half before the transfer window closes.
Arsenal look to Dzeko to solve striking problem
Arsenal may look to Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko to add extra firepower to their forward line next season, according to The Daily Star.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is concerned with his team’s reliance on Frenchman Olivier Giroud up front, due to Danny Welbeck’s continuing injury problems.
England duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain can be used as additional forwards, although Wenger knows both England stars are suspectible to injury.
29-year-old Dzeko is expected to leave Man City, but despite interest from Serie A’s Roma, the Bosnian would like to remain in the Premier League.
Despite maintaining a decent strike rate for Manchester City since being signed by Roberto Mancini, Dzeko has failed to hold down a regular starting berth.
The recent signing of Raheem Sterling, coupled with the possibility of Belgian star Kevin De Bruyne also joining the Citizens, will only hasten Dzeko’s departure.
Wenger has also denied interest in Real Madrid’s Karim Benezma, although the Frenchman admitted that he was willing to pay an ‘exceptional amount’ on a player to strengthen the squad, in stark contrast to previous seasons at the Emirates where the cash has not flowed as freely in the transfer market.
Martinez rocked by Chelsea’s Stones bid
Everton manager Roberto Martinez criticised Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho, after the latter made public their bid for defender John Stones.
Mourinho confirmed the London club’s interest in the 21-year-old England international, saying: "We made a bid because we like the player."
The bid, thought to be around £20m, was rejected by the Toffees.
Martinez expressed his ‘disappointment’ of "a club making a statement to the press and making it openly."
"I don't think we'd do it and speak about a player. John Stones is an Everton player, full stop.
"We are not a selling club. We are not a club that needs to be worried about what other clubs put through the press."
Stones still has four years to run on his current Everton deal, having made 23 league appearances last term.
Mourinho responded to Martinez’s comments in typically bullish fashion, telling Sky Sports: "When the transfer window is open, every club and player is open to bids.
"Bids come for our players and we make bids for other players. The process can be so simple.
"I would advise Roberto Martinez to do the same thing I do. If I don't want to accept any offer, I say 'I don't accept any offer'. He can make it very, very easy."
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