LONDON – Brendan Rodgers has finally captured his No1 summer transfer target after Christian Benteke completed his Â£32.5m transfer to Liverpool from Aston Villa.
The Belgium international becomes the seventh new arrival at Anfield since the end of last season. Benteke is understood to have signed a five-year contract, with Liverpool paying Â£16m up front and the remainder of the fee payable over the course of his contract.
Rodgersâ€™ pursuit of the 24-year-old has been a lengthy one as the club were initially not prepared to meet the strikerâ€™s buy-out clause but after the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City in a Â£49m deal last week there was a change of heart.
â€œIâ€™m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian [Ayre, chief executive] and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here,â€ the striker told Liverpoolâ€™s website. â€œI think it was the right club for me because I had a good chat with the manager and I wanted to be part of his project.
â€œI know Liverpool is a big story. Theyâ€™ve won league titles and the Champions League five times and of course the Uefa Cup and a lot of trophies. I know itâ€™s a big club.
â€œIâ€™m very happy to be part of the Liverpool family now and I will do everything to make them happy and work hard for them and my team-mates.â€
Benteke will not meet most of his new team-mates until they return after Fridayâ€™s match against a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur.
He already knows a couple of them â€“ goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and Divock Origi – from the national team and believes the summer recruitment has given the Reds a chance of winning silverware.
â€œI think there are quality players, a lot of good players with big names of course,â€ he added. â€œIâ€™m happy to be part of this team and will [try] to help this team reach its goals.
â€œI want to be the best and I want to reach the best of myself.
â€œI came here to win trophies. I came here to reach some great goals with the team.â€ – Mirror