Liverpool have rejected another big-money bid from Crystal Palace for out-of-favour striker Christian Benteke.
Benteke finds himself surplus to requirements under Jurgen Klopp in 2016/17, and is widely expected to be leaving Merseyside this summer.
Palace are joined by the likes of West Ham and West Brom in their interest in the Belgian, while Everton, Besiktas and Sunderland have also been mooted as potential buyers.
But Alan Pardew’s side seemingly hold the most pressing interest, and have already seen a pair of bids rejected this summer.
However, with the transfer window entering its final fortnight, the Eagles are no closer to signing Benteke, with their latest offer, worth up to £30 million, rejected this week.
According to the Express‘ Paul Joyce, their initial offer was a payment of £23 million, with a further £7 million in add-ons.
Liverpool are said to have deemed these add-ons as “unrealistic,” likely based on Palace’s projected success with Benteke in the side—with the south London club targeting European football.
The Reds are looking for at least £30 million up front for Benteke, and with Palace selling Yannick Bolasie selling to Everton for £25 million on Monday, they clearly have the funds.
Pardew is believed to be “desperate” to add to his attacking ranks this summer, with only Connor Wickham and Fraizer Campbell available as centre-forward options at this stage.
Benteke joining the Eagles would represent an ideal solution for both clubs, as well as the player, but Liverpool will continue to play hardball.
Sanctioning Benteke’s departure for £30 million would ensure that Liverpool have gained money this summer.
The signings of Loris Karius, Joel Matip, Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Manninger and Ragnar Klavan amount to an outlay of £61.9 million, while sales including those of Martin Skrtel, Jordon Ibe and Joe Allen have seen Liverpool recoup £46.5 million so far.
Liverpool will now be waiting for an improved bid for Benteke, but the striker is unlikely to be the only other player to leave the club before the end of the transfer window.
Luis Alberto, Mario Balotelli, Andre Wisdom, Tiago Ilori and Lazar Markovic could all feasibly depart Merseyside, too.