By Derrick Kiplagat
Liverpool have announced the £ 32.5 million signing of long- term target Belgian striker Christian Benteke in a statement on their club website. The 24-year-old has penned a five-year-deal, completing his medical check-up after the Reds finally agreed to meet his release clause at Villa Park.
Benteke has been linked with Liverpool for most of the summer, with speculation centering more around when he would move, rather than if, as he looks to avoid yet another relegation scrap with the Midlands side.
The Reds spent a while trying to pry him away for less than his release clause, but a combination of sudden interest from Manchester United and a cash boost from the £ 49 million departure of Raheem Sterling allowed them to finally splash the cash on the prolific striker.
Benteke said in an interview on the club’s website, “I’m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian Ayre and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here.”
“It’s hard to show your emotion when you’ve just come from doing something but of course I am very happy. I think it was the right club for me because I had a good chat with the manager and I wanted to be part of his project,” a delighted Benteke added.
He becomes the club’s seventh signing of the summer following the captures of James Milner, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez, Adam Bogdan and Nathaniel Clyne as Brendan Rodgers looks to build a squad to improve on last season’s sixth place finish in the Premier League.
The signings of Ings, Milner and Firmino in particular went some way to beef up an attacking half of the team that struggled last season when Liverpool’s strikers suffered the humiliation of scoring fewer goals than their Merseyside rival Everton’s defenders and they will hope that Benteke is the deadly finisher they need to finish the set. The striker bagged 11 goals in 11 appearances for Villa last season.