Chelsea’s hunt for a striker this January has now seen them get linked with Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke. The winter window has allowed Chelsea to redeem their mistakes from the summer when they failed to add adequate numbers to their squad to challenge for all trophies in Europe. The result was there for everyone to see with Conte’s men falling far behind in the English league and finishing second in the group stage of the Champions League, a result which will see them face Barcelona in the round of 16 next month.
With the Blues desperate to add another striker, reports have seen them get linked with some truly bizarre rumours. West Ham United’s Andy Carroll, Stoke City’s Peter Crouch and AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko have all been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. The latest frontman to join the rumour mill is Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke. It is being reported that the Blues are seeking to negotiate a loan deal for the 27-year old.
The Belgian was in good form for the duration of the 2016-17 season and was Palace’s main men up front. However, this time around he has been injured out for a while in the initial part of the season. Since his return, he has been unable to recapture his old form and the Belgian’s form has been reflected in Palace’s suffering run this season. Benteke moved to England to join Aston Villa back in 2012 after impressing with Genk the season before.
His time at Aston Villa bore great fruit as the Belgian scored a healthy 42 goals in 89 outings for the club before Liverpool came for him in 2015. A return of 10 goals in 42 games meant that Benteke was not enjoying the best form at Anfield and Crystal Palace brought him from Merseyside for an initial fee of £27m which could rise by a further £5m, bringing the total fee to £32m.
The striker who was tipped to lead the frontline of the talented Belgian team has lost his way and has been replaced by Romelu Lukaku in the national set-up. With Palace knowing that a bid from Chelsea would mean that it would be hard to convince Benteke to stay, the club is holding out for a permanent switch rather than a loan move.
If Chelsea fails to a suitable alternative to Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi this month, the Blues hierarchy may be forced to bow to the permanent move demand of Palace to get their man.
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