Sent by the media to China like most underperforming players nearing their thirties, Christian Benteke isn’t planning to go down that route, at least not yet.
The Crystal Palace striker only managed to find the back of the net once in 19 appearances last season in all competitions, and rumours of an exit were starting to pile up.
However, while on international duty with Belgium, the 28-year-old took some time to clear the air during a press conference and revealed his plans for the near future, which do not include an all-expenses paid trip out east.
Relayed by Walfoot, he said: “I don’t want to go into details or find excuses. I wanted to force things when I wasn’t fit. After a good season, the last two have been very complicated. I still have a contract at Crystal Palace and I plan on honouring it.
“The club have been very correct with me and I don’t want to leave like a thief. China has never been an option. The Premier League is my dream and I still want to live it. I’ve not even talked about the Chinese Super League with Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco while on international duty.”
That, technically, should put an end to the rumours, although we all know how certain members of the media work.
Since arriving from Liverpool for a fee of £28m, Christian Benteke has scored 21 goals and assisted his teammates nine times in 90 appearances.
Signing in 2016 for the Eagles, the Belgium international has one year left on his contract, due to expire in 2020, but Crystal Palace have an option to extend it by an extra year if they so wish.