Christian Benteke provides value for money in Premier League ROI ratings

    Christian Benteke has returned to form since joining Crystal Palace in August 2016.

    Story highlights

    • Benteke has won the most aerial duels in Europe's top five leagues
    • He has outscored all of his former Liverpool teammates

    (CNN)Once one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League, Christian Benteke is now rebuilding his reputation -- and market value -- at one of the English top flight's less glamorous teams.

    At the age of just 26, the Belgium international has already commanded career transfer fees of £66 million ($82 million), but in the past 12 months he had found himself in danger of becoming one of football's forgotten men.
      His future seemed bright after a £32.5 million ($40.3 million) move from Aston Villa to Liverpool -- making him the club's third most expensive signing -- but he rapidly fell out of favor following the arrival of German coach Jurgen Klopp in October 2015.
      After making just 14 league starts for the five-time European champion, scoring 10 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions last season, he was given a lifeline by Crystal Palace.
      The stats this season show Benteke is proving value for money after his club-record £27 million ($33.5 million) move -- which, if he meets performance clauses, will reportedly match his Liverpool fee.
      If Benteke was a square peg in a round hole at Anfield, where Klopp prefers more mobile forwards, early form suggests he's finding his fit as Palace's target-man -- see his stats below:

      Numbers game

      • Benteke has won the most aerial duels (121) in Europe's top five leagues. With almost three times as many as compatriot Romelu Lukaku of Everton (46), the 6-foot 3-inch (1.9-meter) striker is averaging over eight per game in the Premier League this season. As Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said before his side's clash with Palace in November: "Benteke in the box is unstoppable."
      • Alan Pardew's team is set up to optimize Benteke's threat -- something the player foresaw during his protracted move to the club, telling reporters: "There are some great wingers here and because of that I think I can be a success here."
      Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has completed more take-ons (67) than any other player in the Premier League, Jason Puncheon has played among the most key passes in the division (30), and only Southampton has registered more crosses than the Eagles.
      • Such service has helped Benteke notch eight league goals so far this campaign, the same number as a rejuvenated Eden Hazard at league leader Chelsea -- and just three fewer than Barcelona star Lionel Messi in La Liga.
      Despite occupying 16th place in the table ahead of Saturday's London derby with Chelsea, the Eagles have scored the fifth most (28), a fact not lost on Benteke, who told L'Equipe this week: "You can't allow yourself to give up, to stay in the situation of a loser, so you try to find a solution, to be happy. I found that by coming to Crystal Palace, and I'm happy today."
      What is player ROI?

      How it's calculated

      The English Premier League is awash with money, with its current TV deal reportedly worth nearly $11 billion. But which Premier League players are delivering the best bang for the buck for their clubs? Tracking a number of live on-field performance indicators -- such as goals, key passes and defensive actions like blocks and interceptions -- Player ROI, or return on investment, compares players' game performance to their cost to find out.

      • Benteke cost twice as much as any other Palace player -- winger Andros Townsend cost £13 million ($16 million) from relegated Newcastle -- but the Eagles are beginning to see a return on their considerable investment. Only Manchester United's $120 million man Paul Pogba can boast a higher Performance Score in CNN Money Sport's ROI Index.
      • Benteke may have struggled at Liverpool, but he has outscored all of his former teammates so far this season. In fact, of all the new arrivals in the Premier League, only Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) can boast a better goals return. With five goals in his last six games, Benteke may finally be living up to the big billing.