Romelu Lukaku’s departure to Manchester United for an eye-watering £75m may have left a gaping hole in Everton’s attack but another Belgian might just prove to be a bargain replacement.
Reports abound that Ronald Koeman will make a move for Crystal Palace front man, Christian Benteke.
The former Aston Villa striker looked nailed on to thrive at Selhurst Park but, even after bagging 15 goals in 36 Premier League games, there were rumours of his discontent before the end of the season.
As replacements go, Benteke for Lukaku – at reportedly half the price – would be more cracking business by the Blues, after making some eye-catching signings already.
Similar but not like-for-like, the burly pair of Belgian internationals have had slightly different careers. While Lukaku has enjoyed relative stability, Everton would be Benteke’s fourth club since moving to England.
He’s scored goals wherever he’s gone, though, in every different style of team. From Aston Villa’s counter attacking side under Paul Lambert, at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers’ fluid football, and now, latterly, under Big Sam and a slightly more *ahem* direct approach.
While Lukaku is quicker and able to roll defenders more easily, Benteke is better in the air and scores goals of all kinds, including a number of bicycle kicks at both Villa and Liverpool.
If Koeman is looking for another big hitman to build a side around, they don’t come much more Premier League-ready than Benteke, with 66 goals in 154 games.
For around £30-40m, a deal would suit both Palace and Everton as the Eagles make a nice bit of profit and the Toffees land a striker similar to the quality and mould of Lukaku whilst keeping their own hefty chunk of change.
A move back to Liverpool, this time across Stanley Park, might prove to be a better fit for Benteke, too.
A fish out of water in his previous stint on Merseyside, the pressure would slightly lessen at Goodison Park where he’d no doubt thrive as the big dog in a slightly smaller yard.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing