The signing of Jonathan Benteke on a free transfer was a strange and unexpected move by Crystal Palace, but Alan Pardew has a plan for the young Belgian.
The 21-year-old signed on a free transfer from Belgian side Zlute Waregem after impressing on a week’s trial and came off the bench for brother Christian in the 2-1 away win over Middlesbrough for his Premier League debut.
While Pardew admits he thrust Jonathan into action due to a shortage of strikers, he says that he hasn’t had enough time to truly judge him but his performance against Boro was exactly what he asked of him.
“I haven’t really been able to judge him yet, if I’m honest,” Pardew told the Croydon Advertiser.
“He came in to train with us for a week, we were short up front and we stuck him on the bench.
“We put him on and told him to put Middlesbrough under pressure for ten minutes and keep the ball if he could, which he did. I couldn’t ask for any more than that.”
Despite injuries to Loic Remy and Fraizer Campbell, Pardew believes that Jonathan will get game time with the U23 development squad for the time being and not the first-team squad.
“He will get some game time coming up, probably for the U23 development squad.
“We can assess, really, exactly what potential he has. I just haven’t really seen enough of him.”
Short of options and time, Palace made the move to sign Jonathan on a free transfer but Pardew has ended any speculation that states that the £32m club-record move for Christian Benteke played any part in the signing of his younger brother.
“We were limited in our scouting, but it looks like it’s promising at the moment.
“It all came about through his agent, it wasn’t Christian. There was a situation that, financially, it made a lot of sense.
“Young strikers are very difficult to get hold of in this market, so it was a no-brainer really.”
Crystal Palace travel to the south coast tonight to take on Southampton in the EFL Cup third round before a trip to the North East in the Premier League on the weekend to square-off against Sunderland.