In the past half an hour, it has been confirmed that Birmingham City have broken their record transfer fee to sign young, up-and-coming striker Christian Benitez from Santos Laguna.
The Ecuador player has been constantly linked with the club during the past week, after his agent went public with the news that Blues had tabled a £6.2 million pound bid (with £3 million in add-ons) for the striker.
His agent also disclosed the information that a top 6 Premier League side, and top clubs from around Europe were after the striker, and therefore it must be seen as a fantastic coup for the Blues and manager Alex McLeish who has always maintained the viewpoint that there is better value-for-money if you shop abroad.
Benitez’s agent remarked yesterday that Benitez was “as good as Messi”, and he could have a greater effect at Blues than Mauro Zarate, who thrilled fans during his 6 month stay during the last 6 months of the 2007/2008 season.
The Birmingham City website describes Benitez as “one of the hottest prospects in world football “, and while the club refused to disclose the official transfer fee, they did inform fans that the club ” beat off competition from top European clubs ” to sign the striker on a three-year deal.
What do we know about Benitez?
Well, as I have said, he is 23 years old, and the Ecuadorian striker has joined the club from Mexican club Santos Laguna. He is the son of Ermen Benitez, who is one of Ecuador’s all time top scorers. Benitez has been lauded as a great talent after the 2006 World Cup when he shone for Ecuador. For Santos Laguna, Benitez scored 31 goals in 58 games, and his form this season has been more than impressive. He will bring creativity and flair to a Birmingham side who need reinforcements if they are to survive in next season’s Premier League.
Benitez will probably jump straight into the Blues first XI, ahead of the likes of Marcus Bent and Garry O’Connor who will be fearing for their futures after this latest arrival.
Benitez has played in the majority of Ecuador’s games over the past 2 years, and so it is believed that a work permit should be easy to obtain for the new Birmingham City striker.