Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke started the 2020/21 season having less than a year left on his contract at Selhurst Park.
The striker was linked with a move to West Bromwich Albion back in January, but these claims were dismissed by his agent.
As we approached the end of the previous campaign, it seemed the 30-year-old would leave the Eagles as a free agent, only for him to sign a new contract with the Premier League side in June. His current deal will run now down in 2023.
Sport/Voetbalmagazine have published a detailed interview with the Belgium international and during the course of the interview, the player was asked about his decision to stay loyal to Palace.
“I have always felt the confidence of the club and I had no interest in leaving the club at all costs,” the former Liverpool man said.
“In January we started thinking about leaving. Then I had a long talk with the coach (Roy Hodgson, ed.) and he told me he couldn’t guarantee that I would play 90 minutes every game, but he added that he was counting on me.”
“I decided to fight back and keep working hard. And I’m glad it paid off.”
Had he decided to leave Crystal Palace as a free agent, there would have been more options to pick from for Benteke. The frontman, however, doesn’t regret his decision to commit his future to the Premier League side.
“I thought about it and there were some contacts. But I have taken many factors into account. My first argument, separate from the conversation I had with the chairman, was my physical readiness,” Benteke explained.
“I’m 30 and physically I feel great. Unlike in the past, clubs are no longer afraid to transfer players aged 32 or 33.
“With the equipment available today, you can perfectly evaluate the actual physical level of a player and see what he can still contribute to the team. Those tests have reassured me about the longevity I still have in football. I am convinced that I could score 15 more goals in a season in the Premier League.”
“I also wanted to stay here for family reasons, as my children have been attending school in London for a few years now. I was happy to be able to maintain some sort of stability.”