It was best for all parties when Christian Benteke left Liverpool in the summer.
One season at Anfield yielded just nine league goals and accusations from Benteke that he had been “ignored” by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
When he joined Crystal Palace last month, nobody at Liverpool had any complaints. They made back £27 million on their £32.5m investment and shelved a considerable number from the wage bill.
The Belgian was signed by Brendan Rodgers but like Joe Hart not suiting Pep Guardiola’s style at Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp’s ideal style of play doesn’t involve a 6 ft 3 in centre forward who won’t put in the work required.
(It’s hard to see why Rodgers signed him from Villa in the first place given that the now-Celtic manager prefers his teams to play with the ball on the floor.)
And so it must have become clear to Klopp that Benteke wouldn’t form a part of his plans pretty swiftly after joining in October of last year. Just more than two months after arriving, the January transfer window opened.
With Divock Origi coming along nicely – he scored a hat-trick in a League Cup game against Southampton in December – it probably occurred to Klopp that he could sell Benteke in January. With the Premier League table taking shape, some desperate relegation-threatened team would surely take a punt on the striker.
As it turns out, Liverpool did receive a bid for Benteke. But it wasn’t from England.
According to Tony Barrett, a Chinese Super League team was prepared to pay the Reds £45 million to take the Belgium international. It was a bid Liverpool surely would have accepted but Benteke rejected the unnamed team’s advances.