Crystal Palace offer contract extension to 29-year-old proven star – A bad move by Hodgson?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea FC at Selhurst Park on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Cziborra/Pool via Getty Images)

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Why Crystal Palace are better off not offering a new contract to Christian Benteke

According to Evening Standard, Christian Benteke has been offered a contract extension by Crystal Palace. The forward’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the season and Palace have offered him a one-year extension so as to not lose him on a free. The club are also looking to offer extensions to players such as Patrick van Aanholt whose deals run out in the summer.

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Christian Benteke established himself as a prolific goalscorer in Belgium with Standard Liege and Genk before earning a move to the Premier League with Aston Villa back in the summer of 2012. The towering hitman was an instant hit in English football as he went on to plunder 23 goals in all competitions during his debut campaign at Villa Park.

The 29-year-old was snapped up by Liverpool in 2015 on the back of an astonishing tally of 49 goals in just 101 appearances for Villa. Benteke scored 10 goals in 42 appearances for the Reds before being transferred to Crystal Palace, where he hit the ground running, with 17 goals in all competitions during the 2016-17 season.

Christian Benteke has been in poor form
Christian Benteke has been in poor form

However, Benteke’s career has been in a downward spiral over the past three seasons, with the Belgian constantly finding himself in and out of the team due to recurrent injuries and poor form. He has managed just 6 league goals for the Eagles since the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

Crystal Palace should let go of Benteke

Make no mistake, Christian Benteke was literally unplayable and very much among the Premier League’s elite strikers during his first five seasons in English football. However, injuries have taken a massive toll on his productivity in recent years, with the Belgian very much a shadow of his former glorious self.

The 29-year-old’s meagre tally of just 6 league goals over the past three seasons at Selhurst Park represents a significant fall from grace for a striker who used to terrorize defences in his younger days.

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke looks on. (Getty Images)
Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke looks on. (Getty Images)

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With other striker options such as Jordan Ayew and Michy Batshuayi available in the team, Palace can afford to let go of Benteke by not offering an extension. Even Wilfried Zaha can chip in as a centre-forward on occasions.

Yes, Benteke might walk out on a free but his exit would clear up some of the wage bill as he is one of the highest-paid players at the club. Hence, Palace should think twice before offering him an extension.