Christian Benteke has revealed he turned down a move to West Bromwich Albion in January after receiving assurances from Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson.
Christian Benteke said “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.”
Benteke was then asked if that was why he didn’t sign for Albion.
Christian Benteke said “That is why and also because I did not want to leave in January. 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.”
Benteke has appeared in all eight of Palace’s Premier League matches since the window closed, making four starts including against the Baggies last weekend, and scoring twice. He is out of contract at the end of the season and has already been linked with a return to Belgium with Club Brugge, but the ex-Liverpool player has ruled out a move back to his home country for now.
Christian Benteke said “I do think that my agent has spoken to people from Club Brugge,” he said. “I will always respect the Belgian league, but it is not the time to return yet.”
Allardyce boosted his options upfront in January with the signing of Mbaye Diagne, who has scored once since arriving on loan from Galatasaray. Albion boss Sam Allardyce targeted Benteke in the last transfer window having worked with the Belgium international during his time in charge at Selhurst Park. Benteke had limited game time for Palace in the first half of the season and there were reports he might be released from his contract before moving to a new club on a free transfer. But a conversation with Hodgson in the weeks leading up to the window convinced the former Aston Villa favourite to stay and fight for his place.
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