Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce says Christian Benteke not for sale
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that striker Christian Benteke is not for sale in the January transfer window.
The 26-year-old Belgian, who has scored eight Premier League goals so far this season, has been linked with a move to China as well as a swap deal involving West Brom's Saido Berahino.
However Allardyce, whose side face West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, believes that Benteke will remain with the Eagles once the window has closed.
He said: "I haven't spoken to the chairman, so unless the chairman knows any different from me, Christian Benteke is not for sale.
"You can never say never but for the moment he is a Crystal Palace player and available for selection this weekend.
"I am planning on him being here at the end of this window.
"He has scored eight goals already for Crystal Palace this season so he has a major part to play - particularly in that goal scoring area - for us to stay safe in the Premier League, so I expect him to be here when the window shuts."
Palace have won just one of their last 15 games in all competitions and, having already conceded 37 league goals this season, Allardyce believes that the defence is the area that he would like to strengthen during the transfer window.
He said: "My interest at this time is to strengthen the areas in defence, not the attacking or front areas at this time.
"I think when Wilfried (Zaha) and Bakary Sako come back (from the African Nations Cup) we have very good options on the front line.
"We have Loic Remy fit again, Fraizer Campbell so I think we have plenty of options.
"Defensively we need to secure more defensive players to help our situation.
"The fact we have only kept one clean sheet all season is a big point for me to try and make the team realise that we need to stop those goals going in, either in general play or in set pieces.
"That is my focus on players in this window.
"We have bids in for three, four players in at this time, whether those bids get accepted, I will find out.
"The chairman is doing that side of the business over the transfer window so I would not like to speculate over a player (by name).
"We have been very busy (looking at transfers) without any great success so far. By the end of this week we wanted to have secured one of the defenders we are targeting but that is still not the case and it shows how difficult the window is.
"We are trying our best but the prices are steep, but we have to live with those because it is a necessity that we strengthen the defence."