West Brom show interest in Liverpool's Christian Benteke
WEST Brom have joined the race to sign Christian Benteke from Liverpool.
The Baggies need to rebuild their strike-force with Saido Berahino expected to leave, and Benteke is under consideration, Press Association Sport understands.
The forward will be allowed to leave Anfield, although Liverpool are keen on recouping as much of the £32.5million they paid Aston Villa last year meaning any deal will break Albion's transfer record.
Crystal Palace are also interested in the 25-year-old, who scored nine goals in 14 league starts last season but has fallen down the pecking order under Jurgen Klopp.
Albion pulled the plug on a record £15million deal for West Ham's Diafra Sakho last week after it became clear he would not be fit enough until September.
The Baggies want to line up a new signing before allowing Berahino to leave with the club having accepted it is time to cash in on the former England Under-21 international.
Palace also want Berahino, with an offer of £20million plus add-ons on the table, with Stoke having offered a £20million package for the 23-year-old.
Albion were bought by Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited last week, headed by Chinese entrepreneur Guochuan Lai.
The new owners are also prepared to give the green light to a third bid for Leicester's Jeff Schlupp. Albion have had two bids rejected for the Ghana international but have never given up on the left-sided player.
Albion are happy to let defender James Chester go having accepted an offer from Aston Villa.
Villa have lost their opening two games this season - including an embarrassing 3-1 EFL Cup defeat to Luton on Wednesday - and boss Roberto Di Matteo confirmed he needs defensive reinforcements.
Ciaran Clark joined Newcastle for £5million and Joleon Lescott is unlikely to have a future under Di Matteo following relegation from the Premier League last season.
Chester has struggled for first-team opportunities at The Hawthorns since joining from Hull for £8million last summer.
He made just nine league starts and was often played out of position and will again be behind Jonas Olsson, Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley at the Baggies.
Chester impressed during Wales' march to the Euro 2016 semi-finals in the summer and made the most challenges and interceptions of any player in the tournament with 36.
Villa host Rotherham in their first Sky Bet Championship home game of the season on Saturday having lost 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday in the opener last weekend.
They have already spent £12million on Ross McCormack in a bid to earn promotion at the first attempt but the striker was withdrawn in the second half in their defeat at Kenilworth Road and is yet to score.