The biggest question of the summer for Aston Villa is: will Christian Benteke be here when the season starts. If a club comes calling with the £32.5 million that it would take to trigger Benteke's release clause, Villa will have no option but to let him go. But Liverpool plan on making Villa make a decision with a £25 million bid according to a report from the Mirror.
Villa have insisted that they are trying to get Benteke to sign a new contract and that they won't even listen to any offers below the release clause, but at some point they probably will have to change their tune. Benteke has shown no signs of wanting a new contract and taking guaranteed money now might be a better choice for the club than waiting for the next transfer window and seeing what you can get then. Given the fact that Villa need a new left back, probably a new right back, someone to fill Tom Cleverley's spot, and a striker or two, the money could be immediately useful.
And it seems at this point that Benteke leaving is a matter of "when" rather than "if." Assuming that's true, the club will have to figure out how to move ahead with the Belgian striker. Perhaps rather than building around him now and then having to re-build once he leaves it would be better to see what the future has in store immediately. Alex wrote compellingly on this very issue yesterday.
As for Liverpool, I wrote earlier in the week that I thought their purchase of Roberto Firmino could signal the end of their pursuit of Benteke. I argued that while they played different positions there was enough overlap in the skills of both players that they wouldn't be able to justify the expense of a Benteke. As much as I love Benteke, I honestly think that paying as much as it will take to pry him from Villa would be a dumb move for Liverpool. He's a Raheem Sterling replacement, but they could likely do better.
But apparently Liverpool aren't interested in avoiding dumb moves or using money wisely. And the overlap in skills isn't enough to make them re-think Benteke. I should've known better than to expect something intelligent from the Reds, but boy was I wrong.