What's happened to Christian Benteke at Crystal Palace?
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Christian Benteke's Crystal Palace future is uncertain. He’s been out of form in the Premier League and out of favour under Roy Hodgson. As a result, the 29-year-old may be out of time at Selhurst Park.
Benteke was Palace’s record-signing and highest-earner after joining from Liverpool in 2016. His stock has fallen considerably since and his days in South London could be numbered.
So, what's happened?
Benteke impressed in his opening campaign, scoring 15 goals in 36 Premier League games with Palace finishing 14th in the table. His form dipped between December 11, 2016 and March 30, 2017, when he scored just once in 13, although the Belgian international finished strongly with six goals in Palace’s last 10. Things fell apart for Benteke after that, however.
- 2017/18 [Premier League] 31 appearances, three goals
- 2018/19 [Premier League] 16 appearances, one goal
- 2019/20 [Premier League] 15 appearances, zero goals
The 29-year-old contributed four league goals since May 2017 and suffers a nine-month goal drought in the top-flight. It’s easy to understand why Roy Hodgson looks elsewhere.
Benching affects Euro hopes
Benteke’s problems at club level are mirrored on the international stage. He’s fallen behind Jordan Ayew in the pecking order at Palace and Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi and Dries Mertens with Roberto Martinez's Belgium.
The target-man started four league games from a possible 21 [486 minutes] and one international outing from a possible six  this season. Benteke wants to lead Belgium’s attack in Euro 2020 and admitted he may need to leave Palace to find the playing time to put himself in contention.
Despite Palace agreeing a new deal with Benteke in October, a move away in January could be on the cards. Eyebrows may have been raised when the 29-year-old’s contract was extended but Palace were protecting his resale value.
The Eagles may struggle to find suitors since recent performances don't live up to their valuation and the player's wage demands. Palace paid £27 million to sign the 29-year-old and reportedly want no less than £15 million to let him go.
With Benteke earning £120k-per-week/£6.24m annually [Spotrac] at Selhurst Park, there aren’t many clubs who can afford him or see the value. Signing a striker without a league goal to his name this season isn’t an attractive proposition. The clubs willing to take a flyer will only do so for a minimal investment.
Benteke's career totals
- Standard Liege [2009-2011]: 25 appearances, three goals, three assists
- KRC Genk [2011-2012]: 51 appearances, 20 goals, 13 assists
- Aston Villa [2012-2015]: 101 appearances, 49 goals, 12 assists
- Liverpool [2015-2016]: 42 appearances, 10 goals, six assists
- Crystal Palace [2016-present]: 106 appearances, 21 goals, nine assists
Linked with a move to the Chinese Super League last summer, Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur tweeted recent interest from Club Brugge. The Belgian powerhouse aren't an elite European side but do offer Europa League play this spring, another opportunity for Benteke to shine. Of course, whether Palace receive an acceptable bid before the transfer window shuts remains to be seen.