Who's in for Christian Benteke today?

Clive Mason

In Thursday's Christian Benteke transfer rumor, it's the Italian sides that want a piece of the action. Too bad it ain't gonna happen.

Hey look, it's another rumor about Christian Benteke. And no, this time it does not revolve around Tottenham Hotspur, or your mom wanting someone around the house to help out with the chores. Nope, this time the rumor hops the channel, flies over the majority of Europe and lands on the Italian peninsula. Yep, it's Juventus that want Benteke.

Well, it's true that the Old Lady aren't doing so hot -- meaning they're now third in Serie A, after a rather hilarious match last weekend which saw Fiorentina come from down 2-0 to win 4-2. They've also got just two points in the Champions League, with the referee actually cheating Juventus out of points on Wednesday night and handing Real Madrid the win. That leaves the bianconeri third in their group and looking at Europa League football.

More importantly, Juve are running out of strikers. Sure, they brought in Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tévez this summer, and that partnership makes up the first-choice pairing for Antonio Conte. But take a look at the bench. Fabio Quagliarella is out with injury. Mirko Vučinić seems to enjoy not playing more than playing. And Sebastian Giovinco isn't, well, a Champions League player.

When Juventus had one of the strongest midfields in Europe, the quality of their strikers mattered little. But Andrea Pirlo is finally losing his touch (and looking a bit chunky, come to that). Claudio Marchisio is looking a shadow of what he was two seasons ago. Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba are both fantastic and both score goals, but each of them are a lit fuse ready to explode. This is no longer a midfield that can bail out their side week in, week out.

Enter Christian Benteke. Yes, he'd likely be a good option for Juve, even if it's likely that he'd just be coming off the bench. But here's the thing. Juventus don't have money. They pick up players on the outs with their clubs (Tévez) or ones whose contracts are close to running out (Pogba). They're not about to splash the cash required to bring in the Belgian. Especially the cash necessary for a January transfer for a Premier League striker.

Today's Italian media also notes that both Napoli and Lazio are interested in Benteke. Napoli, unlike most Serie A sides, do have cash and they could afford his fee. They also might be in desperate need of a replacement for Goran Pandev -- Duván Zapata may have scored against Marseille midweek, but a team involved in three competitions needs more than 2.5 decent strikers.

As for Lazio...hmm. Tell you what, guys. Aston Villa will give you back Libor Kozák, we'll take Antonio Candreva, and we'll just forget this whole mess ever happened. In exchange, we'll allow you to watch some highlight videos of Benteke.

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