Crystal Palace man suggests foreign exit likely after snubbing Prem rivals
Christian Benteke has revealed he turned down interest from West Brom in the winter transfer window, but may seek a move away from England in the summer.
The Crystal Palace striker was one of many transfer targets who were the subject of a blanket approach from the Baggies.
Sam Allardyce eventually signed Mbaye Diagne on loan from Galatasaray in January having been rejected by Benteke.
The Belgian had been a bit-part player for the Eagles up until that stage of the season, causing suggestions of his departure to spread.
It was then that he sought a chat with manager Roy Hodgson, a conversation which convinced him to stay at Selhurst Park.
Benteke told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen: “In December I read in the press that I could leave. I immediately went to the coach and asked him: ‘Do I still fit into your plans?’
“He replied: ‘Yes, but there will be competition. It will be difficult to guarantee your chances of playing, but you are in my plans’. When he said that, it was clear to me that I wanted to stay.”
However, Benteke went on to add: “In the summer you have more time to weigh up the pros and cons and make a well-considered choice. Maybe I want to take on a challenge in another country.”
The 30-year-old has seen his opportunities at Palace improve recently compared to the first half of the season. He has started five of the last six games, during which time he has scored against Brighton and Tottenham.
Crystal Palace still looking over their shoulders
Despite being 11 points clear of the relegation zone after their victory over West Brom, Roy Hodgson is warning his players against complacency in their final nine matches of the season.
He has plied his trade in England for nearly nine years, joining Aston Villa in 2012 before moving to Liverpool in 2015.
One location that can be ruled out from where Benteke could be headed at the end of the season is his home country, where his professional career begun.
“I do think that my agent has spoken to people from Club Brugge. I will always respect the Belgian league, but it is not the time to return yet,” he said.
Give our social media channels a follow – we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
West Brom man’s value set to rise
Meanwhile, Tottenham are showing an interest in West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. But a report has revealed how their pursuit of him has become more complicated.
Johnstone is enjoying a successful season in goal at the Hawthornes, despite the club being threatened by relegation.
The 27-year-old has been one of the few bright sparks. He has been rewarded with a first ever England call-up as a result.
However, that in turn has complicated his future at club level. According to Football Insider, his value will increase if he plays in the international break.
READ MORE: Transfer fee spirals for Tottenham target