Significant update on player’s future will cost Crystal Palace millions – opinion

Christian Benteke’s arrival at Crystal Palace back in 2016 looked like a good one for every one involved.

Liverpool recouped almost all of the £32.5m they spent on the Belgian when they signed him from Aston Villa in 2015, with the Eagles splashing out a club-record £27m on Benteke as they looked to kick on after their FA Cup final defeat.

It seemed at first like a hugely successful transfer.

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The former Genk striker netted his first goal early on with a towering trademark header away to Middlesbrough, and didn’t look back from that moment on.

He ended his first season at Selhurst Park with 17 goals under his belt – 15 of those coming in the league – to make him the deadliest top-flight marksman Palace have had since the prolific Andy Johnson.

What happened then still makes little sense.

Christian Benteke 5 - Significant update on player's future will cost Crystal Palace millions - opinion

Since the start of the following campaign, Benteke has managed to find the back of the net just four times in 50 appearances.

He netted just three goals in the 2017/18 campaign, before bagging just a single strike in the 2018/19 season to make Palace fans ask what had happened to their record signing.

To make matters worse, he has been eating up £120,000-a-week from the wage bill for the entire time, draining the club’s funds and giving very little back in return.

Amazingly for Palace, a very tempting offer from Chinese club Shandong Luneng Taishan arrived for Benteke towards the end of May, which would see the south Londoners net £15m – more than half of what they spent on the forward – whilst getting his huge earnings off the books.

Disastrously for Palace, however, Goal has reported that the 28-year-old doesn’t want to leave SE25 and wants to prove himself to Roy Hodgson. Benteke has now spoken about his future directly as well, claiming he never considered going to China and that he intends to honour the final year of his Palace contract.

Whilst this is admirable, it will cost the Eagles a lot of money.

Crystal Palace Christian Benteke - Significant update on player's future will cost Crystal Palace millions - opinion

Firstly, he will have to be paid his astronomical earnings for another 12 months, which works out at £6,240,000.

Furthermore, with just one year left on his deal and it being unlikely that Palace will extend that due to the circumstances, he would leave on a free next summer – thus robbing the club of the chance to make back some of their failed investment.

The coffers at Selhurst Park seem very modest as well, so the quality and quantity of new arrivals may hinge on Benteke’s future.

Palace have spent just £18.5m over the course of the last 18 months, bringing in only two players for a transfer fee in Alexander Sorloth and Cheikhou Kouyate, who cost £9m and £9.5m respectively.

That lack of signings, and more importantly lack of spending, suggests that Palace are feeling the full force of splashing out such huge amounts of money on Benteke.

His huge decision to stay put this summer may rob the Eagles of £21,240,000, that could be spent on transfer fees and wages for new recruits.

Tough times.

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