Roy Hodgson still believes Christian Benteke has a future at Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson insists Christian Benteke still has a future at Crystal Palace despite the arrival of Everton forward Cenk Tosun on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.
The Eagles have scored only 19 times in 21 Premier League games this season, with Jordan Ayew the club’s top goalscorer with five goals.
Boss Hodgson has been pleading for a striker since the summer transfer window after failing to get the best out of Benteke, who is currently out injured with a muscle strain.
After a productive 2016-17 term at Selhurst Park, the Belgian has only netted on four occasions for the Eagles during the last two-and-a-half season, but is not surplus to requirements.
“I don’t think bringing a new player into the club as a centre-forward should mean it is definitely the end of the road for another player,” Hodgson said.
“Of course they (Benteke and Tosun) can play together. Of course one can play and one can sit on the bench. There are lots of situations.
“We can get a lot of injuries and there might come a time where you will ask me what we will do without Benteke, Cenk Tosun and Connor Wickham because they are all injured.”
Hodgson confirmed Benteke is “making progress” but admitted the Aston Villa forward is still some weeks off returning.
In the meantime, Palace will hope Tosun can hit the ground running given he is already a Premier League player.
The Eagles wanted the Turkish international in the summer of 2017, but failed to bring him to the club and Everton signed him from Besiktas the following January for a reported £27million.
For Hodgson there are no hard feelings, he added: “It’s a professional business and if a player is a good player and is available for transfer, you have to be realistic enough to know that you are not going to be the only ones interested.
“It comes down to the offer on the table and you might be unlucky that the offer is more attractive from somewhere else.
“We know he has the capacity and the ability to score goals and he has the type of quality that we are looking for, which we think will get him into goalscoring positions and when he gets into those positions, we believe he has the technique to take the goal chances.
“We found that out to our cost when he came on for 10 minutes up at Everton (in October 2018) and finished the game off by scoring the second goal.”
Tosun could make his debut as a starter against Arsenal on Saturday, but Palace will be without captain Luka Milivojevic.
He begins the first of a three-match suspension for his red card at home to Derby in the FA Cup last weekend for violent conduct.
“We thought it was an unbelievably harsh decision,” Hodgson explained.
“Even the referee (Michael Oliver), when we spoke after the game, felt it was harsh, but one that he had to take.
“We felt we had a good case to appeal, but it was turned down.”