LONDON (Guardian) - Crystal Palace have formalised their interest in Christian Benteke by submitting an opening bid worth £25m (S44.6 million) to Liverpool for the Belgium international forward.
The offer was tabled on the day Palace announced the signings of Andros Townsend, for what is currently a club record £13m from Newcastle United, and the France No. 2 goalkeeper, Steve Mandanda, for £1.4m from Marseille on a contract through to 2019. Talks have also taken place with West Ham United aimed at securing the England under-21s centre-half, James Tomkins for £12m.
Interest in Benteke first surfaced in January as the Belgian laboured disappointingly through his first season at Anfield following a £32.5m move from Aston Villa last summer. Palace have now returned with a formal offer for the 25-year-old having lost out on the pursuit of his compatriot, Michy Batshuayi, who has joined Chelsea from Marseille for £33.2m.
The initial bid for Benteke falls short of Liverpool's £30m valuation of the forward, who scored 10 goals in 42 appearances last term, and will be rejected. Yet talks are expected to continue between the clubs to find a compromise and there is confidence at Palace that the player, who has also attracted interest from West Ham United, can be secured. Personal terms will not prove an issue for a striker seeking to revive his career.
Townsend, who has joined Palace's ranks of wingers to supply Benteke, signed a five-year deal on Friday. "I'm extremely delighted," said the 24-year-old, who was cut late from Roy Hodgson's England squad for the European Championship.
"I had chats with the manager and chairman (Steve Parish) before I signed and I'm pleased to be part of Crystal Palace's future. By the sounds of things it's going to be a bright one and I can't wait to get started."
Dwight Gayle has departed Palace for Newcastle in a separate deal worth an initial £8.5m.
The London club's manager, Alan Pardew, has signed a new long-term contract at Selhurst Park and still hopes to add further to his team's defensive ranks before the start of the new campaign. There is interest in Queens Park Rangers' Steven Caulker and the young Wolves defender, Dominic Iorfa.