Birmingham City opt against signing Christian Benitez
Benitez has scored 10 international goals for Ecuador
Striker Christian Benitez has left Birmingham after the club opted not to take up the option to sign the Ecuadorian on a permanent deal.
The 24-year-old arrived on a season-long loan deal from Mexican side Santos Laguna in July last year, with a fee to sign the striker written into the deal.
But despite making 36 appearances for the Blues, he managed just four goals.
And manager Alex McLeish has decided to release the player, known as "Chucho", to return to Santos.
McLeish will turn his attentions to other striking options, with the Scot being linked with a move for South Africa forward Katlego Mphela, who was top scorer in the South Africa league last season with 17 goals.
Benitez did not grab his first goal for the club until November when he scored with a header in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Despite his struggle for goals, Benitez did contribute to Birmingham's successful season with his link-up play and physical presence.
Benitez is the son of Ermen Benitez, one of Ecuador's all-time leading goalscorers and came to prominence at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
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