West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has confirmed the club's interest in signing Liverpool's out-of-favour striker Christian Benteke in the summer, but believes they will not be able to afford to pay the huge wages he earns from the Merseyside club. The Reds are willing to listen to offers for the Belgium international, who has failed to live up to his hefty price tag and has fallen down the pecking order under Jurgen Klopp.
Brendan Rodgers signed Benteke in a £32.5m ($46.1m) deal from Aston Villa last summer and he was touted to lead their line in the absence of Daniel Sturridge, who was out for long periods with multiple injury concerns. The former Genk striker started the season as the first choice under the Northern Irishman, and started the first five games, but has since completed the full 90 minutes on just four occasions following the arrival of Klopp.
The former Villa striker is the second top scorer for the Reds, one behind Roberto Firmino, but he has played just 138 minutes of Premier League football since the middle of January, and is now behind Sturridge, Firmino and Divock Origi in the pecking order. This is likely to prompt the striker to seek a move away, but the Hammers chief is concerned that they will be priced out of a move owing to his high wages, which is said to be around £120,000-a-week ($170,388).
"He's a player we admire but the problem is that he is on huge wages that no club can afford," Sullivan said, as quoted by The Sun.
But the Boleyn Ground outfit's co-owner has made it clear they are going to be in the market for a striker in the summer with Sullivan believing that they would have been higher up the table with a 20-25 goal striker. West Ham are still in the hunt for a place in the top four and face a quarter-finals replay against Manchester United in the FA Cup, with Everton awaiting the winners in the last four.
"What we don't have is 20-25 goal a season striker. If we did we'd be even higher up the table."
"Andy [Carroll] has scored some big goals this season. Four doesn't sound much but they have been huge goals and he has made a huge impact coming off the bench. He is a 'chaos' player. Our team doesn't need major surgery but maybe a real top, top consistent goalscorer," he explained.