By Gianluigi Carrozzini
Juventus have flown to Liverpool to launch their pursuit of Christian Benteke, according to a report.
The Italian champions are targeting Benteke for a summer swoop as the likelihood grows that the striker will leave Anfield this summer.
According to Italian publication Tuttosport, Juventus sent a club official to watch Benteke in action during Liverpool’s Europa League semi-final triumph over Villarreal on Thursday night.
It is said that the match was regarded as the perfect opportunity to initiate talks over a possible deal for the 25-year-old.
Benteke only came on as a late substitute in Liverpool’s convincing 3-0 win over Villarreal, which booked their place in the Europa League final.
The Belgian has had a disappointing debut season at Anfield following his £32.5million move from Aston Villa last summer and there is a growing expectation that he could leave the club after just one year, with West Ham among the clubs who have also expressed an interest.
Liverpool legend Steve Nicol is convinced that Benteke will leave Merseyside this summer and be replaced by Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi, a fellow Belgium international.
“He’s young, scoring goals in Ligue 1 – which doesn’t always translate into the Premier League,” former defender Nicol told ESPN of Batshuayi. “He’s an up and coming player, he’s an international, he’s only 22, he’s got ability, and he scores goals.
“I think there’s a good possibility he goes to Liverpool over Spurs. I think there’s a good chance this kid goes to Liverpool as one Belgian will go out in Benteke, and another will come in, in Batshuayi.”
Benteke has scored nine goals for Liverpool this season, including eight in the Premier League, but has not started in the main domestic competition since early January.
In other Liverpool transfer news, West Brom are said to be closely monitoring an attacker at the club.