The Crystal Palace fans in the Transfer Tavern were bitterly disappointed by Christian Benteke’s performances during the Eagles campaign last season and, as such, they are prepared to see him depart the club this summer.
Christian Benteke’s career in the Premier League has been on a downward trajectory in recent seasons, and his demise culminated during Palace’s most recent campaign as he managed to notch just 3 goals from 31 appearances in the top-flight. His failure to rediscover his goalscoring touch has forced Roberto Martinez to omit him from Belgium’s World Cup squad this summer, although it would hardly have represented much of a dilemma for the former Everton boss after the season Benteke endured.
Now that the season is over Hodgson will need to prepare a plan of action for the future to ensure that his side avoid a relegation battle next time round, and offloading Benteke should represent a core component of that plan.
In an ideal world Palace would recoup a large portion of the £28.08 million they paid for him back in 2016, but it’s unlikely that many clubs will be eager to pay anything close to that figure on the back of his lacklustre campaign.
With that in mind, Hodgson would be wise to use him as a makeweight in a potential deal to sign a player of true quality who could enable Palace to push for a top-ten finish next season, namely Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City.
The Switzerland international provided 15 goals for Stoke last season by scoring 8 and providing 7 assists from 36 appearances, but his positive impact failed to prevent his side from suffering relegation to the Championship.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung (via Stoke Sentinel) Shaqiri admitted that he is almost certainly set to depart the Bet365 stadium this summer, with a return to the Premier League his preferred career move at this moment in time.
Considering his latest admission, Palace would be foolish not to consider making a bid for his services this summer. The same report claims that he should be available for £13.5 million, but if they include Benteke as part of the deal then Palace should be able to conclude a straight swap for the two players.
After a season as dismal as Benteke’s, it would represent a wise decision to take a pay-cut and a step down in order to rebuild his confidence in the Championship next season, so the proposed swap deal would certainly prove to be a beneficial one for all parties concerned.
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