I would love for Christian Benteke to come back to Aston Villa. He's probably my favourite Villan of all time. Benteke's saved us from relegation twice before, why not finish the hat trick? Even if the two clubs could iron out a deal, the final say would rest with the player. This leads us to the first potential stumbling block: would he even want to return?
Aston Villa aren't exactly a desirable option right now for any player. Numerous players have declined an invitation to join Rémi Garde's team already during this transfer window, and for good reason. Why come back to a team that's probably getting relegated? Even if Benteke was loaned back and scored 10 goals for Villa, they still will most likely fail to beat the drop.
Problem number two is the fact that Liverpool may be reluctant to permit the striker to rejoin his old club. One reason for this is that Liverpool does not want to look stupid and admit they made a big-money mistake. The club's management should just accept this, and blame the old manager who bought him; Brendan Rodgers.
Since joining Liverpool for £32.5 million last summer, it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the player or the club. Six goals in 20 appearances --1 goal per 196 minutes-- isn't terrible. His average in the Premier League is a goal every 177 minutes.
Just half a year into his Merseyside tenure, Benteke already has a bad reputation among Liverpool fans. Part of the reason for his struggles is that he hasn't had a manager willing to play to his strengths. Neither Rodgers nor Jürgen Klopp has made playing crosses in to the big Belgian a priority. Benteke has the second-most headed goals in the Premier League the past two years with 14.
Thanks to the brilliant work of Michael Caley (Twitter; @MC_of_A) we can take a look at his expected goals for the current season:
Christian Benteke. He's been fine! Also a funny shape. pic.twitter.com/STfxzD3lM9— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) January 22, 2016
And now let's compare that to Benteke's expected goals in his final year with Villa:
Here's Benteke from last season. Benteke's brilliance on hard chances, struggles on big chances are weird. pic.twitter.com/9iLnnLB8NN— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) January 22, 2016
This is the Benteke Liverpool should have known they were getting. He's not been terribly different than the one we came to know and love. Benteke is still scoring about once per two games, and is still managing to fire home some spectacular goals. The main reason we all thought Benteke was so good is that Aston Villa simply cannot score, so when someone is managing to find the back of the net on a somewhat consistent basis, it's a minor miracle. And that's not to discredit the striker. He's a very good player with the knack for a spectacular strike. Benteke's goals came out of thin air, making them all the more incredible. At Liverpool, this isn't the kind of player that's needed in Klopp's system.
Finally, Benteke will stay to prove to himself that he can cut it at the highest level. After (over-performing and) saving a club from relegation on multiple occasions, his move to a club competing in European competition was a deserved one. Now that he's there, and has his back pressed against the wall, he'll want to prove he's good enough.
While he'd certainly like to have an all-but guaranteed place in the starting eleven somewhere (like he did in his time at Villa) in order to provide a platform for performances that could catapult him back into the Euro 2016 picture with Belgium, it's probably irrelevant. Romelu Lukaku is enjoying his best season so far and looks like a lock for the starting spot, regardless of how Benteke plays in the second half of this campaign. If he can't find his feet in Klopp's side, he'll probably be sold in the summer. However, it will be to another team that's challenging for Europe, not looking to mount a promotion campaign.