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Ecuadorean star completes move to Birmingham

8 July 2009 11:35

LONDON (AFP) - Ecuadorean international striker Christian Benitez became newly-promoted English Premier League side Birmingham City's record signing on Tuesday when he completed a move for a reported 8million pounds.

The 23-year-old's move had been held up because a medical suggested he had a knee problem so City reduced their initial offer to Mexican side Santos Laguna of 9million pounds to the fee agreed on Tuesday.

"It is the right time for me to make this move," Benitez was quoted on the club's website.

"I am looking forward to playing for the Blues.

"I will be giving everything to score as many goals as possible and share good times with this club."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish said that their new signing was a real coup for the club.

"Christian is a tremendous prospect who has lit up the South American international scene," said the former Rangers and Scotland manager.

"The signing is really exciting for everyone at the club and I'm really looking forward to working with him. I look forward to seeing him in a Blues jersey."

Benitez becomes McLeish's sixth signing of the close season while there are rumours that he is also keen on bringing in two of the more controversial midfielders in English football - Lee Bowyer and Joey Barton.

Bowyer is expected to sign on a free transfer later in the week from West Ham after a successful loan spell last season while Barton is effectively persona non grata at relegated Premier League side Newcastle United.

McLeish's other signings have been former Ireland international Stephen Carr, Scott Dann, Roger Johnson, England Under-21 goalkeeper Joe Hart - a season-long loanee from Manchester City - and Giovanny Espinoza.

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