Liverpool agree deal with Aston Villa for Christian Benteke
LIVERPOOL have reached an agreement with Aston Villa over the payment terms for the £32.5million transfer of Christian Benteke.
A bid to trigger the Belgium international’s release clause was submitted on Friday and Reds chief executive Ian Ayre, who is with the squad in Australia on their pre-season tour, had been conducting negotiations over the weekend as to just how and when that money will be paid.
It is understood a satisfactory conclusion has been reached in those discussions with Liverpool believed to be paying half the fee up front.
The 24-year-old will now undergo a medical, which is likely to take place on this evening or Tuesday morning.
As a result Benteke will not be joining his new team-mates for the remainder of their tour, with the squad due to fly to Kuala Lumpur for a match against a Malaysia XI on Friday after today’s friendly against Adelaide United.
Ayre stayed up through the night in Australia to thrash out the final terms of the deal, which will see the Reds pay £16million up front with further payments over the course of the deal taking it up to the full £32 million.
Dr Andy Massey was due to fly home last night from Adelaide to London where the proposed medical will take place.
The signing is seen as a show of support for manager Brendan Rodgers from owners Fenway Sports Group after a robust end-of-season review of last campaign’s sixth-placed finish which resulted in the sacking of assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first team coach Mike Marsh’s contract not being renewed.
Benteke was Rodgers’ primary transfer target this summer as he wants to add some strength to his attacking options but also needs a front-line striker who can withstand the rigours of the Premier League.
England international Daniel Sturridge made just 18 appearances last season after missing virtually the first five months of the campaign with injury.
He is likely to be sidelined until at least September after undergoing surgery on a hip problem which prematurely ended his campaign in April.
That would have left Rodgers with youngster Divock Origi, playing his first season in English football after spending last season on loan at Lille, and summer signing Danny Ings as his frontline options with Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are deemed surplus to requirements.
Meanwhile, Newcastle United are expected to make Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic their next summer signing.
Following the deal to bring Georginio Wijnaldum to St James’ Park from PSV Eindhoven, manager Steve McClaren has turned to 20-year-old Serbian Mitrovic to strengthen his attack.
McClaren, quoted by the Chronicle while on Newcastle’s United States tour, said of transfer dealings: “We are very close to something. There is a lot of speculation and pre-empting of decisions.
“But certainly from the feedback back home they are working very hard to bring one or two players back in.”
Mitrovic was pictured by Sky Sports News arriving on Tyneside on Sunday.
On Saturday, Mitrovic wrote on his Facebook page:
“It’s over! Again in black and white :)) Thank you RSC Anderlecht ! Thank you for everything!”
The reference to black and white reflects the colours of Partizan Belgrade, his former club, and Newcastle.