Liverpool will look to beat Manchester United to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke following the FA Cup final with Arsenal this weekend.
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The Daily Telegraph report that the Merseyside club see the 24-year-old as the ideal man to solve the striking crisis that caused such a season of turmoil at Anfield.
However, they will likely have to pay at least £30 million for the Belgian, with Villa rating the forward for not a penny less.
Liverpool are hoping to get such deal done early and look to avoid the kind of late drama that saw them sign players such as Mario Balotelli last summer.
However, bitter rivals Manchester United could scupper such plans with Louis van Gaal also seeing Benteke as an ideal solution in his efforts to enact striking reform at Old Trafford after a similar campaign of woe upfront.
Annoyingly, Liverpool could have likely signed Benteke in last year’s ill fated recruitment drive for a fee much less inflated than now, but deemed him too risky a proposition after a serious injury. His recovery would also have ruled him out of the beginning of the Reds Champions League campaign.
They also kept a close eye in January but again this was before he rediscovered his zeal pre-Tim Sherwood’s arrived at Villa.
The Telegraph claim that it was decided several weeks ago Benteke would be a priority and Liverpool believe they could have an upper hand with ex-Liverpool suit Paddy Reilly now head of recruitment at Villa and still enjoying a good relationship with his former club’s colleagues.
However, despite a myriad of interest in his player, Tim Sherwood is still adamant he can convince Benteke to remain at Villa Park, particularly if their FA Cup adventure ends in triumph on Saturday.