Liverpool Transfer News: Christian Benteke Exit Rumours, Latest on Granit Xhaka

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2016

Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates his goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Sunderland and Liverpool at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Christian Benteke could be fighting for his Liverpool future already following claims new manager Jurgen Klopp "isn't convinced" by the striker. It is also anticipated the Reds are set to launch a club-record move for Granit Xhaka.

According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, Klopp's "spies are working hard to identify centre-forward targets" ahead of this summer's transfer window, with the German looking to upgrade in attack.

Klopp is reportedly "not convinced" by Benteke as a first-choice striker.
Klopp is reportedly "not convinced" by Benteke as a first-choice striker.OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

It's been less than six months since Benteke moved to Liverpool from Aston Villa in a £32.5 million deal, the second-highest figure the Reds have paid for a player, just behind the 2011 acquisition of Andy Carroll.

Mokbel claimed Klopp is seeking "a mobile striker," with forward Benteke perhaps considered too lumbering and one-dimensional in his style.

The Belgium international has dealt with injuries already at Anfield, and while a record of seven goals in 21 appearances this season—including 14 starts—doesn't make for terrible reading, Klopp is seeking something different. recently highlighted this term as something of a low for Benteke, who thrived during his time at Villa Park, where tactics were regularly adapted to suit his abilities:

It's suggested that with Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi fit, Benteke will struggle to feature in the plans of his new manager despite seeing predecessor Brendan Rodgers fork out such a huge figure for his services.

Benteke was dropped for Monday's Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg win over Stoke City, and the Times' Tony Barrett understandably saw that as a bad sign considering the club had no other recognised strikers fit:

Meanwhile, Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka is understood to have piqued the interest of Klopp, who is weighing up a £37 million move for his talents.

That's according to German newspaper Bild, which claimed the Reds chief is in a rush to address his side's injury woes (h/t Daily Star's Alex Harris). According to the Telegraph, Xhaka's father and agent, Ragip, suggested his son could be open to a transfer:

Xhaka has started 23 times for Monchengladbach this season.
Xhaka has started 23 times for Monchengladbach this season.PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

"At the moment I prefer not to say too much. We'll see what happens. I can say that several big clubs are interested. Everything is possible, we're not ruling anything out."

Bundesliga expert Clark Whitney believes that while Xhaka is the kind of player Liverpool should covet, they might struggle to land his signature unless they qualify for the Champions League:

Signing a striker should remain a priority for Klopp, though. One star who could eventually replace Benteke in the Liverpool front line is West Bromwich Albion forward Saido Berahino, but the Guardian (h/t Luke Gardener of the Daily Star) claimed Stoke City have joined the hunt for his signature.

Tottenham Hotspur are also known to be in for the former England under-21 star, and it's suggested that a fee of £22.5 million would be enough to tempt the Baggies into selling their controversial attacker.