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Pardew backs Benteke to plug Palace gap


London (AFP) – Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew is confident the proposed arrival of striker Christian Benteke from Premier League rivals Liverpool will help bolster spirits at the south London club.

A reported fee of £27 million ($35 million, 31 million euros) plus a further £5 million of add-ons has been agreed between Liverpool and Palace for the services of Belgium striker Benteke, who now has to agree personal terms and pass a medical to complete the move.

Palace have seen Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak leave for Everton and Aston Villa but their departures would, to some extent, be offset by the arrival of Benteke, 25, at Selhurst Park.

Benteke has struggled to show the form that convinced Liverpool to sign him for some £32 million from Villa last year but, in Pardew’s opinion at least, the forward remains an “iconic” footballer.   

“It’s still subject to personal terms and a medical, but in terms of an agreement with Liverpool, finally we seem to have got there,” said Pardew on Friday.

“It’s important when you lose iconic players to try and replace them with iconic players,” added Pardew, who also tried to sign Benteke while in charge of Newcastle.

“We’ve lost two this week, Mile Jedinak and Yala Bolasie. Both were massive figures at this club and we will need to replace them with big figures.

“That’s something that didn’t always happen at Newcastle, unfortunately, so I’m pleased the board have been brave with this move.

“He’s someone I know very, very well because I wanted to take him to Newcastle. I thought he’d be a fantastic fit for that club. He got the move to Liverpool and it hasn’t quite worked out.

“For us, we need to get him back to doing what he does best. His style of play, the way he feeds off crosses…

“He’ll enjoy that with the wide players we have. But he’s not our player yet.

“(Bolasie’s transfer to Everton) wasn’t something that I’d planned. I asked him if there was anything we could do to keep him at the club, and his response was ‘no’.”

The proposed transfer fee for Benteke will more than double the club-record £13 million Palace paid to sign Andros Townsend from Newcastle.

Now the former Tottenham winger is set to return to White Hart Lane for the first time since January when Palace face Spurs in north London on Saturday.

Palace started the season with a 1-0 loss at home to West Bromwich Albion last week while Tottenham drew with Everton.

“(Spurs have) an energy in their squad,” said Pardew. “They haven’t had to make wholesale changes in that group because they’re so young, and they’ll be better for the experience of last year.

“Their first home game is not an ideal draw for us. We’ll have to be very, very good to get something there.”

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