There has been a rather mixed reaction among Liverpool fans towards the imminent arrival of Christian Benteke from Aston Villa, with the Reds having met the player’s £32.5m buyout clause on Thursday (via BBC Sport).
There’s no doubting the Belgian’s qualities, 49 goals in 100 games is a more than respectable record for a struggling top flight side, but there are rightly fears over the size of the transfer fee and whether his game is suitable for our preferred style of play.
Liverpool fans won’t want to be reminded of Andy Carroll – our only other striker to cost more than £30m – who was offloaded to West Ham on loan – and later permanently – within 18 months of signing from Newcastle United.
Benteke’s record suggests that he will offer more than the England man, but there’s no point in pretending that this is Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres – who were both greeted with open arms by joyous supporters.
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The 24-year-old won’t be the first new signing that the doubters have questioned. And he’s far from a lost cause. In the list below, we count down six Liverpool players who proved the critics wrong, and became important figures at the club. Let’s hope that Christian joins this list in the near future!
The German midfielder was thought to be one for the future when he was signed from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, and he started the season in exactly that fashion. He featured just five times before November, with only four of those games in the Premier League. However, he was given a new lease of life after becoming an emergency defender in Brendan Rodgers’ new-look 3-4-3 formation, and he was a virtual ever-present thereafter.
Rodgers picked up the Brazilian in a bargain deal in January 2013, with a lukewarm reception greeting his arrival from Inter Milan. The midfielder had struggled in Italy, making just 28 league appearances in three years, but the Liverpool scouts had seen something the Serie A giants hadn’t. Over the last two-and-a-half years we’ve had the pleasure of seeing the little magician develop into one of the best players in the country, culminating in his PFA nomination last year.