Brendan Rodgers’ long pursuit of Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke came to an end as Liverpool decided to trigger the release clause of the Belgian international’s contract.
Benteke topped the target list of the Reds as they lacked firepower in striking zone last season and Rodgers prioritized to bolster a goal-shy forward-line. Rodgers considered a move to bring Benteke a year ago, but the hitman was then still recovering from a serious Achilles injury.
Last season Benteke exhibited supreme form to fire Villa to Premier League safety zone and lifted them to produce a stunning show in the FA Cup with a special performance against Liverpool in the semifinals. The Belgian notched up 15 goals for Villa last season. So there was no such injury concerns over him this summer; the only hurdle was his transfer fee. Liverpool valued him at £20 million to £25 million, based on the knowledge that he has only two years left in his contract.
Villa made it clear this season that Benteke would only leave if a club met the £32.5 million fee written into his contract.
The Belgian striker declined Villa’s offer and waited for Liverpool to meet the transfer clause.
Liverpool continuously negotiated with Villa for two months to reduce the amount of transfer fee. Manchester United was induced in the race for Benteke, a strategy which finally paid for Villa as Liverpool agreed to cough up the money written in the transfer clause.
Anfield management could hardly complain as Liverpool adopted the similar strategy over Raheem Sterling’s move to Manchester City.