On the face of it, every top Premier League club should be battering down Aston Villa’s door in pursuit of Christian Benteke this summer.
The Belgian striker has bagged 11 goals in his past nine games and 41 in the English top-flight over the past three seasons – a record only Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero and Robin van Persie can better.
In addition to his goals, Benteke brings an awesome presence to the Villans’ frontline, often able to bully entire defences by himself to spearhead his team’s attacking efforts.
However, an orchestra of alarm bells start ringing when you look a little closer at the Belgian’s record at Villa, and make his proposed £30m price-tag seem ridiculous.
For a start, Benteke’s recent scoring run might be impressive, but which is the more important stat: that he has scored 10 in his last eight league games, or the mere eight he bagged in the previous 40?
There is a tendency in the transfer market to only focus on the good, and presume any bad spells in a player’s record are a blip, but in reality, is it not more likely that Benteke’s recent goal blitz is the outlier?
Liverpool in particular have spent vast sums on players in recent season based on relatively short bursts of form, with last summer’s transfer splurge laden with risky buys.
As a result, their squad is bloated with below-par players who have struggled to fit in at Anfield, with Mario Balotelli the standout flop thus far.
Benteke would represent another move in this vein, especially at the quoted price-tag of £30m, and the Belgian is also unlikely to fit in with Brendan Rodgers’ free-flowing attacking style.
The similarly-bullish Andy Carroll was quickly pushed to the fringes at Anfield under Rodgers, despite his £35m transfer fee.
Benteke is a limited player enjoying a supreme run of form. He doesn’t fit the Liverpool system, and is likely to drop off the boil soon.
The Reds spending any money at all on the Belgian would be a mistake. Splashing out £30m on him would be criminal.
Liverpool’s next match is away at champions Chelsea, with Rodgers’ side 14/5 to claim three points.