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  • what happened to Chucho Benitez ? Birmingham City

    On June 3, 2009, Birmingham City announced the signing of Benítez on a three-year contract for an undisclosed club record transfer fee, which press reports speculated to be in the region of £6 million rising to £9m. The move was subject to the striker receiving a work permit and passing a medical. The medical revealed unforeseen knee problems, which prompted the deal to be renegotiated on a "protected purchase" basis. The club would pay an initial $2m (£1.2m) with an option to abort the deal on medical grounds after the first year; thereafter the fee could potentially rise, depending on appearances and success, to a club record $12.5m (£7.7m). The player eventually signed on July 7. The club later clarified that he was in fact on loan. While recovering from shoulder surgery and awaiting his visa, Benítez played in an all-star match in Ecuador without asking the club's permission.

    He made his Birmingham debut as a second-half substitute in Birmingham's opening match of the season, a 1–0 defeat at Manchester United, and came close to equalising, drawing a "wonderful one-handed diving save" from Ben Foster. His first Premier League start came against Hull City on September 19; he played a key role in a 1–0 win and "could have had a hat-trick but for the supreme goalkeeping of Boaz Myhill" Benítez scored his first goal for the Blues on November 9 away to Liverpool, with a close-range header after Scott Dann had nodded the ball on, in a game which finished 2–2. He scored the first of what manager Alex McLeish described as "two classy goals" as Birmingham knocked Everton out of the FA Cup at Goodison Park. However, after his season produced only four goals and Birmingham's attempt to renegotiate the agreed transfer fee was unsuccessful, the club chose not to take up their option to purchase, and the player returned to Santos Laguna.

    On July 21, 2010, Benítez signed a new deal 3-year deal with Santos Laguna. Although it has been reported that both Sunderland and West Ham are still interested in taking the forward on loan again.

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