As Liverpool continue to pursue Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, reports suggest unwanted duo Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert could be offered in exchange.
Liverpool continue to baulk at Aston Villa’s £32 million asking price, but could offer strikers Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert in order to secure the signing of Christian Benteke this summer.
Both Borini and Lambert are likely to leave Merseyside this summer, with Benteke top of the list to reinforce the Reds’ attacking ranks.
Ian Herbert of the Independent suggests that they could be used as makeweights in any deal.
“Liverpool maintain hopes that the deadlock could be broken in talks to sign Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, though no bid has yet been placed,” he writes.
“Manager Brendan Rodgers still wants another proven goalscorer…and the club are looking to be imaginative as they seek a way through the stumbling block to a breakthrough: the £32.5 million escape clause in the Belgian’s contract which Villa have set as their valuation and Liverpool categorically won’t meet.
“The club may look to offer players to Villa as part of a deal, with Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini both forwards who have little prospect of featuring [this season].”
The suggestion is that Liverpool are willing to pay around £25 million for Benteke, so either Borini or Lambert would boost this closer to Villa’s valuation.
The hardworking Borini would suit Villa manager Tim Sherwood’s tactical remit, and could replace Austrian forward Andreas Weimann, who joined Derby County earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Lambert would offer a like-for-like replacement for Benteke.
The target man has struggled since his £4 million move from Southampton last summer, with his style of play jarring with Rodgers’ fast-moving attacking system.
He turned down a move to Villa in January, but could look to move on this summer, with little chance of establishing himself at Anfield in 2015/16.