Three Christian Benteke replacements Crystal Palace can target in January
Crystal Palace hitman Christian Benteke has endured a severely underwhelming start to the new season, scoring no goals in four appearances. In fact, Benteke has three goals in his last 35 Premier League games and his starting berth in Roy Hodgson’s side could be at risk if he continues to misfire.
The big Belgian missed several chances in Palace’s defeat to Watford last weekend, an also failed to score from point-blank range against Southampton earlier in the day. Time is clearly running out for the striker at the south London club.
Roy Hodgson’s other options at centre-forward are Alexander Sorloth, Jordan Ayew and Connor Wickham, with Wilfried Zaha also capable of performing the No. 9 role. While the quartet should provide Palace with enough firepower, Hodgson should let Benteke go in January and bring in a replacement.
So here are three strikers Palace can sign as Benteke’s replacement in January.
Charlie Austin (Southampton)
Austin is a natural goalscorer blessed with pace and a great understanding of space and movement. However, he lacks Benteke’s physicality.
Austin has not had a great start to the campaign but his goal against Brighton helped Southampton qualify for the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. While the 29-year-old’s career has been blighted by several injuries, he could thrive in Hodgson’s direct system at Palace.
Jay Rodriguez (West Brom)
Jay Rodriguez has had a fantastic start to the new season in the Championship, scoring four goals in six matches so far for West Brom.
Rodriguez has failed to fulfil his full potential, as injuries have held him back in his career. Now that he is fully fit and running, Palace should go for the 29-year-old in January.
He is not the big name signing that many Palace fans may want, but Rodriguez is a proven Premier League performer who fits Hodgson’s style of play perfectly. Known for his work rate, effort and pressing ability, Rodriguez would not bring as many goals as other options but will be a perfect support act for the Palace front-line.
Mario Balotelli (OGC Nice)
Mario Balotelli stayed put at OGC Nice for the 2018/19 season, having looked set to leave the club. But Palace can test Nice’s resolve with a stunning offer for Balotelli in January.
Balotelli, 28, has reignited his career at Nice after a forgettable stint with Liverpool. He was Nice’s top-scorer with 18 goals last season.
A skilful centre-forward, the Italian would bring a lot of goals. Given his ability, he may be worth a gamble for the Eagles.