Crystal Palace midfielder John Salako has said that Christian Benteke does not deserve a new contract on the basis of his performances for the Eagles. The Belgium international had an impressive debut season with the Eagles during the 2016/17 campaign where he scored 17 goals across all competitions but he has since struggled with form and fitness concerns and has managed just four goals over the past two years.
Roy Keane sends message to Manchester United over Solskjaer
Manchester United legend Roy Keane has urged the Red Devils’ hierarchy to stick with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the head coach despite the club’s disappointing start to the season. The Mancunian giants have won just one of the previous six matches in the Premier League and they are currently occupying the 10th spot with nine points on the board.
Speaking after the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw against Arsenal, Keane said that the Red Devils took the risk of offering Solskjaer with the permanent managerial role this year and they should now continue to support him with more funds to strengthen the squad, he told Sky Sports: “They’ve given him the job and the contract, so support him and let him get on with it. Give him a couple of transfer windows. Are there more tough days ahead? You can bet your life there is. But they have to persevere.”
Solskjaer focused on pursuing young and hungry players during the summer and the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire were recruited to bolster the defence while Daniel James was the other purchase. All of them have already made a huge mark on the proceedings but there remains the need to strengthen other areas of the field to close the gap on the title challengers.
The Red Devils are currently short in the centre-forward department with the departures of Alexis Sanchez (loan) and Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan this summer and it will be interesting to see whether the club are planning to spend on a new purchase at the turn of the year. Juventus star Mario Mandzukic has been earmarked as the prime target for the Red Devils as he would provide a stopgap option until the club are able to pursue a world-class striker next summer. The Croatian could be available for around £9m.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Salako said that the former Liverpool man has been awful with his displays for a while and he does not deserve a contract extension on the basis of those performances, he told: “There is talk of Benteke getting a new contract and I am just flabbergasted! The lad was incredible at Aston Villa – he was a beast. He also went and did well at Liverpool for a while, but then he got injured and I think he has struggled. But what has happened over the last two or three years of him at Palace – and I don’t like digging him out – he’s been awful. I really feel for the lad to a point because he just can’t do it. It’s like he’s got his boots on the wrong feet.”
Over the past few years, Benteke has been presented with a number of clear-cut chances but the despair of the fans, he has most often fumbled with those opportunities. As such, there has been a mixed reaction towards a renewal for the Belgian but the Eagles could go ahead with the negotiations, particularly with the lack of depth upfront.
Jordan Ayew has jumped ahead of Benteke in the pecking order for the centre-forward role over the past year and to his credit, he has bagged four goals from 32 games. The record does not make for good reading but he has come up with crucial performances including the opening goal during the shock 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford this term.