Sanjay Nair discusses why the outgoing transfers of Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli should be considered with very little expectation of profit.
Liverpool have so far been unable to land an appropriate deal for the sale of Benteke and Balotelli. Although there is still another two weeks until the end of the transfer window, options seem to be running out especially in the case of Balotelli.
Between the two, they have cost Liverpool almost £50 million and the club seems intent on holding onto their decision to not let either go cheap. Whatever Brendan Rodgers may have had in mind when he signed both of them we cannot fathom, especially when his game-plan achieved maximum success through pace and movement with minimal stress on aerial supremacy. Almost immediately, it was clear that neither could fit into the ‘Liverpool Way’ of football and we have been trying ever since to get a decent price for both.
With our current gaffer very clear as to the long-term future of the club, Liverpool will definitely be better off selling both players below their current expectations and not drag these two transfers out any longer. Besides having a positive impact on the books as well as more funds to buy a good left-back, the dressing room will be rid of any negative energy coming from two players who know their time at Anfield has been over for some time.
Christian Benteke, for all his worth looks completely bereft of any confidence on the pitch, and coming on the back of 3 terrific years at Aston Villa (42 goals in 89 appearances), will still be wondering what has gone so wrong. 9 goals in 14 starts does not seem too bad, but is nowhere near expectations that arise from a £32.5 million striker. If we can retrieve close to 80-90% of that value, Liverpool should consider it a good piece of business for a striker whose reputation has taken a major hit.
The less said of Mario Balotelli these days, the better. A ‘difficult’ player entirely due to his attitude on and off the field, Liverpool are struggling to find any buyer, let alone a top club anywhere in Europe. Portrayed as a gamble from the beginning, Mario has done nothing of note and this is one purchase we could have done without. The money spent on him should just be written off or at best transfer fees reduced to a bare minimum, and then keep our fingers crossed that some club or the other agrees personal terms with Balotelli. It will be a win-win situation for all concerned.
Hopefully, we can achieve both within a week’s time and in the meanwhile shift our focus to go all-out and buy a left back of high quality. Solidity across the back is as vital as a vibrant attacking unit for a team to be touted as potential champions. This fact was amply proven by Leicester City last season and they have done well to retain the core of the team to that effect.
The weeks ahead will be of paramount importance with respect to how we fare, at least until the next transfer window in January.