Crystal Palace in talks with Christian Benteke over new contract

Crystal Palace are in talks with Christian Benteke over a new contract as they seek to ensure their record signing does not depart on a free transfer next summer.

Benteke, one of the club’s highest earners having joined for £27m from Liverpool in summer 2016, had a productive first campaign under Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce but has scored only four goals in his past 50 top-flight appearances.

Palace’s move would appear to be an attempt to preserve some value in the 28-year-old, who has previously attracted interest from China. The club are also discussing a deal with James Tomkins. The centre-back, currently injured, is under contract until 2021.

“I believe negotiations are taking place,” Roy Hodgson said when asked about Benteke. “James Tomkins comes into that category as well. They’re being handled by our chairman and the sporting director, Dougie Freedman. It’s up to the club. When players get into the last year of their contract, the club find themselves in a difficult situation because players can leave for nothing. If Christian signs a new contract, I’ll be happy for him and happy to work with him.”

Palace secured their captain, Luka Milivojevic, to a new four-year deal this month.

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