We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips believes that it would make sense if West Brom signed Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke this month.
Benteke, 30, is in the final months of his contract at Selhurst Park and according to The Athletic, Roy Hodgson is planning for a future without the Belgian target man in his squad.
Jean-Philippe Mateta’s imminent move from Mainz to Palace and, as a result, Benteke’s future is up in the air past the end of the current season.
Benteke joined Palace for £27million – a club record which still stands – from Liverpool in August 2016 while Alan Pardew was in charge but the ex-Aston Villa man’s best spell in South London came when Sam Allardyce was at the helm.
Allardyce spent six months in the Selhurst hot-seat, in which time Benteke scored seven Premier League goals to help Palace secure safety.
Although Benteke is a proven entity for Big Sam, ex-West Brom striker Phillips is unsure about whether he’d be a hit in the Black Country.
For all the good Benteke has done in spells in his career, he’s only netted nine Premier League goals since Allardyce left Crystal Palace in 2017.
Phillips has major reservations about the 38-times Belgium international.
“It could [make sense] but Benteke frustrates me,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“You’ve seen the good side and bad side of him and for me, is he the sort of player you can rely on when you’re sitting second from bottom of the league? You want someone to come in and scrap, fight and put their bodies on the line.
“I’m just not sure what kind of Benteke you’d be getting.
“I know we’re saying they need a striker but for me, I think the priority is a defender.
“They’ve shown in their last two games in [Matheus] Pereira and [Callum] Robinson with Pereira floating around and scoring a couple of goals. Is it a priority?
“We’d like to see another striker in but Hal Robson-Kanu’s back now and Karlan Grant will come back at some point after his injury.
“I’d rather see that money spent on a solid centre-half that will improve the side.”
West Brom have the third-worst attacking record in the Premier League this season with just 15 goals in 19 matches.
Albion’s xG is also the worst at 12.6 [FBRef], which means the Black Country side is actually scoring more often than they should be.
Benteke may have found his scoring boots for Big Sam in the past and he may have also dug Aston Villa out of many holes during his last spell in the West Midlands.
Last year, Allardyce was quoted by football.london as saying: “As well as he could bring the ball down to his feet on the edge of the box and score a few goals with tap-ins, his aerial dominance was one of the big plusses.”
However, it’s been way too long since the Belgian lit up the Premier League and scored goals for fun.
It would be a massive risk to sign him this month.