McLeish lets Benitez leave

On-loan striker Christian Benitez has been allowed to leave Birmingham City following the end of the Premier League season.

Benitez scored four goals in 36 appearances while on loan at St Andrew's from Mexican side Santos Laguna, but the Blues have decided against paying the £7million fee required to sign the Ecuador international on a permanent basis.

"We did have an agreement that the previous board put in place. Chucho (Benitez) did very well for us. I am sorry to lose him but the deal was just too rich for us," manager Alex McLeish told the Birmingham Mail.

"My task now is to find someone who can do a better job. I have got to try and find a player who can be even better than Chucho."

Meanwhile, McLeish is set to offer 36-year-old striker Kevin Phillips a new 12-month contract following his vital goals during the second half of the season.

"We will look to make a new offer to Kevin and he has bought into the role we want him to play now," he confirmed.

"Like all players, he would want to play but I said last season that I saw him being more effective as an impact player and that remains the case."

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