Liverpool’s summer spending may begin with a £20 million move for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, according to Sam Wallace of The Independent.
With Brendan Rodgers’ position as manager safe, according to Wallace, the club’s owners are looking to target the powerful Belgian’s presence ahead of next season: “Fenway Sports Group is making an enquiry about the Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, who has two years of his deal left to run and could fetch a price in excess of £20m.”
Wallace believes Benteke could arrive in addition to Burnley striker Danny Ings and Manchester City midfielder James Milner, both of whom are available on a free (although suitors of Ings may be ordered to pay a “record” tribunal fee, according to Jonathan Northcroft of The Sunday Times).
Villa boss Tim Sherwood doesn’t expect Benteke to leave, however, as reported by David Wright of the Express: “Christian is only a young man but he’s very mature in the way he behaves,” said Sherwood. “I think he’s handled the situation well. I have no reason to believe he wants to seek employment elsewhere.”
Benteke enjoyed a stunning end to the season, scoring 12 in 12 matches for Sherwood’s side, per WhoScored.com. This includes a strike in the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool, a match which ended Rodgers’ hopes of silverware for the season.
He is a physical specimen who is more than capable of leading Liverpool’s line on his own. Benteke drops deep when instructed and is useful at receiving possession, holding it up and spreading to a supporting team-mate. The 24-year-old makes runs into the box at the right time and would provide the Reds’ wingers with a dominant aerial target to hit.
WhoScored recently provided a comparison between Liverpool’s two reported attacking targets, with data from Opta:
B/R UK’s Sam Tighe discussed alternative targets:
Last summer’s acquisitions of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert proved to be a major failure for Rodgers—they grabbed three Premier League goals between them during the 2014-15 campaign—so finding a world-class goalscorer is key to improving on this year’s sixth-place finish.
Pirlo Interested in MLS Switch?
Liverpool’s hopes of landing Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo appear to have taken a hit. The Italian maestro is considering a move to Major League Soccer side New York City, according to David Amoyal of GianlucaDiMarzio.com:
Pirlo is very intrigued by the possibility of playing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, he prefers moving to the United States over the option of playing in the Middle East.
Sabri Lamouchi, the coach of Al-Jaishnin, had offered Pirlo a huge contract to play in Qatar a few weeks ago. Pirlo continues to have ongoing conversations with the United States as he prepares for the Champions League final in Berlin.
Pirlo is linked to Liverpool by Rob Shepherd of the MailOnline, who also suggests the classy passer may be looking to head to the United States.
Rodgers will be looking for someone to dictate the flow of possession through Liverpool’s midfield next season, especially now that Steven Gerrard has played his last match for the club. Pirlo could sit on the halfway line while Jordan Henderson energetically covers the pitch, a role in which the potential next captain excels.
Pirlo will potentially leave Juventus as a Champions League winner, an achievement which would allow him to depart European football on the greatest high possible. NYCFC have already landed David Villa and Frank Lampard in their debut season, so they possess the financial means and ambition to compete for legendary veterans.
Rodgers would be wise to tempt Pirlo, who would no doubt become an instant Liverpool favourite, but he will likely need to line up plenty of alternatives to strengthen the side’s midfield now that Gerrard has gone.
from Bleacher Report - Front Page http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2476304-liverpool-transfer-news-christian-benteke-approach-made-andrea-pirlo-rumours