Chucho Should we Sign Him?

This article was written for us by Nicole Carroll. Many of you know her as she writes for several on line organisations about the Blues. You can follow her regular blog here.

Nicole will hopefully writing for us from time to time. I hope you like her first contribution to Joys and Sorrows.

The arrival of Christian Benitez to St. Andrews is murky tale. Media outlets could not decide whether we’d signed the player for record terms, or what price we were meant to have landed him for.

Eventually, details emerged about potential problems with the medical, which lead the player to sign on a year long loan deal, with the option to keep him after the first year. [Even the Blues website seems confused about this under the players profile as it offers differing information again!].

Living in the Youtube generation, any prospective player is eagerly looked upon by fans who discover compilations of that players greatest moments, and expectations rise substantially. As well as some impressive videos of the player, Benitez has an adequate goal rate in international football with 10 goals in 30 matches, and 31 goals from 58 games at his last domestic club Santos Laguna. His domestic scoring rate on paper is impressive, but the Mexican Premier Division is good, but not of the standard of our own Premier League.

Benitez spent the summer of 2009 recovering from a shoulder injury, but Blues fans got a first look at his flashes of brilliance in the second half of the opening match of the season back in August. Benitez forced Manchester United’s Ben Foster into a fantastic save, and left the Blues fans clamouring to see more of the pint-sized front man.

For all the pace and getting into good areas, there has been very little final product in terms of scoring during the season for Benitez. Although he has had a hand (or foot) in atleast six assists, his league record is rather lowly at just two goals and he produced a solitary finish during the FA Cup run. Compare this to his regular strike partner of Cameron Jerome who has managed nine goals this campaign, or midfielder Bowyer who himself has contributed five goals to the campaign so far.

There is simply no denying the potential talent of Benitez, his previous goal scoring shows us the type of player he can be, and at times he shows pure brilliance on the pitch when he’s driving centre backs to distraction, or taking snap shots which force top class saves. When he comes on to the pitch you just feel there is something a little bit special about the player and he really has the ability to change the game if he puts his mind to it.

Despite his plaudits, with McLeish circling a long awaited Kris Boyd signing, you do have to wonder where Benitez will fit in with next seasons plans. Boyd is also prolific in his own league, but may struggle to assert himself in the Premier League. Benitez’s final fee is meant to be in the region of around £8 million. To put this into context, you are getting a 24 year old striker with a fantastic international pedigree. If it was a choice between taking him and the relative gamble for that amount of money, or two average strikers, then the choice would always be Benitez. You cannot get regular Premier League scorers for the sorts of money that we are willing to offer. We lost out on Pavlychenko in January due to constraints on what we were willing to pay the player, and taking the next step as a club to start attracting that calibre of player.

After a season in the Premier League, Benitez should be feeling like he has adapted to the English game and be looking to push on and improve his goal scoring record for the next season. He hasn’t totally struggled this season, and just seems to fit with the Blues style of football. During our unbeaten run during the season, one of the key reasons, if not the key reason for us keeping that record was the stability of the first eleven. This concept should apply when looking towards next season. Although naturally the club will have new faces arrive and those who will be moving onto better things, it would be worth McLeish’s time to keep Benitez on. Two young strikers in the shape of Benitez and Jerome are a pair who can be nurtured into a formidable team, and complimented by different strikers. One season is not enough to show us whether Benitez will make it in the league; and the next calibre of striker we would like is going to cost us a lot more than Benitez’s fee will be.

There are those players in the game who maybe did not impress initially and were let go, only to become massive successes. McLeish missed out on a star when Palacios was allowed to move onto Wigan and subsequently for a high free to Tottenham. At the time, McLeish did not have adequate time to look at the player.  Recently Benitez has been left out of the starting line-up and whispers are circulating about not taking an option up on the contract. McLeish’s signings have on the whole been brilliant, but lets not let another gem shine somewhere else.

McLeish: Sign him up, or regret it in the future.

Discuss this post, and other items, in the Joys and Sorrows Forum.


21 Comments on Chucho Should we Sign Him?

  1. Really good article. I wholeheartedly agree – sign him up. In the Premier League it is often the unexpected, killer pass or lightening thinking that can win a game and Chucho can deliver. He is also trying to balance when to have a go himself or play in his team mates. We have already seen his sublime assists, I think next season he will have worked out when to score himself.

    Prediction – 12 goals next term.

    Lindsay Blue

  2. A fantastic article, thanks for writing for us!

    I completely agree with your logic and can find no fault in it. Chucho would be a fantastic signing. Without him, we look like Cheryl Cole’s hair before L’Oreal – limp and lifeless. With him, we create, we dazzle and we trouble defences.

    Now, the uneducated supporters will say the opposite. They’ll say ‘but he doesn’t score many goals’ and to that I’d say ‘but look at what else he does’. Chucho is a Dugarry type figure. He won’t necessarily ever get 20 goals a season, but he’ll create space, dazzle defenders and set players up to score. Like Lindsay say above, I would back him to score 10-15 next season but he’d probably get that figure again in vital assists.

    Sign him up.

  3. Having seen him nearly every home game he has played in, ther should be no debate at all.
    For some reason he seems to have been relegated to the bench in recent games, and we are worse off for it. Even if we are looking at bringing in other strikers, we need quality depth of squad. A couple of injuries and we are in no mans land.
    One thing I would say is that McLeish should consider playing him as an attacking midfielder. This would give him more freedom behind the front two. His match changing runs and passes may suit 2 out and out strikers. Shoot me down if you think I am wrong, by all means, but I say what I see. Maybe play 3 up front with him as the third just behind the front two. He is the sort of player that would thrive off the freedom, I am certain.

    Either way, it will be a sad day if we choose to let hm go home.

  4. Welcome to Joys & Sorrows Nicole and thank you for a well thought out and highly provoking article. I totally agree with your views here. Chucho is undoubtedly going to be better in a second season and will contribute more goals now that he is used to the pace of the Premier League and the higher quality of goal keepers and defenders. I think Bumpy’s point about playing Chucho behind two out and out strikers is another interesting thought but it then depends on how you would reshape midfield to accommodate such a move. In summary I am desperate that McCleish doesn’t lose this opportunity to sign Benitez and he is therefore with us for next season.


  5. Benitez loses the ball too much and lacks the quality of passing to play in midfield. He is best left where he is but he does need to work on his finishing. He doesn’t trouble the keeper enough.

  6. Sign him up!! It is true that Chucho hasn’t capitalised on the number of goal scoring oportunities he has created this season but adapation takes time…especially adapting to the stle and pace of the best league in the world! The boy is still finding his feet and settling into the British way of life, I am sure next season he will feel more at home and his confidence in front of goal will start to shine through and he will be the glimmer of hope up front that Blues have lacked for so many years. If Chucho had picked a corner instead of hitting the ball straight at the keeper, for every chance that he has carved out and hit, he’d already be a 12 goal a season striker! Just think what he could become with Big Eck’s man managment behind him!! Frightening isn’t it??

    Oh and a song for Chucho….

    “He does’nt score goals…
    Who gives a f**k…
    cause weee found Chucho on the back of a truck”


  7. i just think it is a no brainer,he is unpredictable and as such can pull out two defenders which makes it easier for other players to score.He could be another tevis in the making

  8. I agree with most of the comments above confess to still being undecided. The bottom line is that I have faith in the manager and so will trust in HIS judgement.

    There is no doubt about Chucho’s ability as a footballer, but I AM concerned about his apparent inability to strike a ball properly…a basic skill for any footballer, but even more important for a striker.

  9. I really like the lad…he gives us another option, has bags of flair and keeps the opposition on the back foot, he also seems to be proud to wear the colours,plays with his heart on his sleeve

    Only concern I have is @ £9 mill he’s more of a luxury player.

    A player you’d splash the cash after your an established PLT….3/4 seasons.

    Its a huge gamble if it dos’ent pan out but at the same time an absolute coup if he 100% settles in

    IMHO – I say sign him up but maybee try to re-nogotiate the fee- £5/6 million


  10. This article is littered with mistakes, the very first line says ‘The arrival of Christian Benitez to St. Andrews is murky tale’

    And what on earth is a ‘shoulder industry’ ???

    Ok so im picking, but it would be nice to read a finsihed article rather than a rushed or unproofed one, other than that i agree, sort of… whilst most of us want Benitez to be great, he just isnt… we need a goal scorer, and he just does not score enough goals, thats the bottom line.

    So to answer the original question ‘Chucho should we sign him’ i say ‘NO’.

  11. Oops typo, ‘finished’ but im not writing an article so its kind of ok 🙂

    And please dont bite me, im just in a picky mood, thankyou for writing it, and i mean that genuinely and sincerely.

  12. I do have someone proof read my stuff and not everything scans brilliantly, but the article was in no means rushed.

    Cannot for the life of me find the “shoulder industry” mistake either, pointing that out would be much appreciated.

  13. Boyd isnt good enough, we need Pavlyuchenko if we are to move forwards.

    And if we did play Benitez behind the front 2 we would be left short in the middle, we are not good enough to do that formation just yet, teams like Chelsea can do it as they oose quality in every inch of the park, as of right now, we dont.

  14. We have around £20 million in the summer allowing for the £20 million shortfall. Pav will cost anything upto £18, leaving us with £2 million to plug the other holes. Not going to happen.

  15. We will likely off load a couple of players, and will again likely (like we always always do) bring in a few loanees, i think a top qulaity proven goal scorer is a much better option than buying someone who ‘might’ grab you 10 if he has a good year…

    Weve been doing that for donkeys years, we now at long last have cash and if we buy quialty players we will improve, however, if we simply strive to ‘plug other holes’ then we will continue to under achieve until ultimately we get dragged into yet another relegation dog fight.

    If we buy 1 top quality player they can make a big difference aswell as make the club more attractive for other ‘names’ to come to.

  16. Thank you for your very good article,Nicole. Sign CHUCHO and bring in ZARATE . They speak the same “language”

  17. I’m afraid Benitez is that rare thing in Premiership Football , ‘ A NO trick pony ‘
    Yes he looks industrious on first seeing him , but after watching him spin and turn and do his little shuffles ( In 20 games ! ) there really is very little end product to write home about. I know he’s laid on some good/great balls , but to be honest , in the time he’s spent on the pitch that’s going to happen to any player eventually. As his tenure in the team has worn on during this season , top defenders sussed him out and then promptly snuffed him out. We can’t afford to keep him on a whim , along the lines of ..” He’ll do it next season ! ” Will he ?… I just don’t think he’s good enough.
    In fact , D J Campell was FAR more productive , and he slipped away when it was rightfully decided that he wasn’t quite Premiership standard.

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