With the latest rumours coming to fore suggesting West Ham United have identified Liverpool striker Christian Benteke as their top summer target, the Belgian reignited the speculation about his potential move away from Anfield by refusing to confirm that he is on Merseyside for the long future.
“In January I didn’t want to leave and it’s still my desire to succeed at Liverpool,” revealed the 25-year old striker, and also was quick to make it clear that he was not planning any move away during the winter window. However, he stopped well short of ruling out a summer exit. “We’ll see at the end of the season.”
Hammers chairman David Sullivan has already expressed his interest on the Reds hitman but thinks his massive wages could be a barrier to them preparing for a move ultimately. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has thrown his support for the struggling striker consistently and has also played down their fiery touchline exchange after the loss to Southampton last weekend by claiming that they “had a few words, nothing else”, but Benteke has not been quite as discreet about what seems to be a cracked relationship.
“Some teammates said that I was lucky with the arrival of Klopp because I certainly would play,” he told in an interview with Belgian news outlet Sport/Voetbalmagazine, while away on international duty. “When your coach says he wanted to take you to Dortmund and a little later you sit at the same club and he ignores you it is hard to understand.”
Benteke has really struggled to establish himself at Liverpool following a £32.5 million move from Aston Villa last summer and the situation got worse after the arrival of Jurgen Klopp.
The Belgian forward has bagged six goals along with five assists in 29 appearances under Klopp, largely limited to substitutes’ role.
His latest outing was a second-half substitution in Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat away to Southampton, missing a golden chance to put Liverpool 3-1 up.
This saw the German manager engage in an on-field exchange with Benteke after the match. It fueled speculation of a move away from Merseyside at the end of this season, with West Ham a likely destination.
Initial hopes and subsequent disappointment largely came from an early, perceived notion that Benteke could actually replicate Robert Lewandowski’s target-man play under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
But frustratingly, whenever Benteke has been called upon it becomes abundantly clear that the striker is not suited to operate in his forward line.
A potential move to West Ham and a return to a more fundamental style would become a welcome decision for Benteke; though a deal seems far from sealed right now.