Mexican golden boot winner an option for Tottenham?

Paul Bereswill

'Chucho' Cristian Benitez didn't score at a high rate while with Birmingham City, but whose career hasn't Alex McLeish screwed up?

According to John Sutcliffe of ESPN Deportes, Tottenham Hotspur is the club most likely to sign Club America ace and Ecuador internacional 'Chucho' Cristian Benitez. He's won the Golden Boot in the last three tournaments in Liga MX and was arguably his team's best player in their run to the most recent Mexican championship.

Spurs supporters who do not follow football in the Americas probably know 'Chucho' Cristian Benitez best as a player who flopped at Birmingham City. Following their promotion to the Premier League, Birmingham paid £1.2m to take Benitez on loan with an option to buy for £7.7m. They refused to exercise that option after he scored just three league goals.

While Benitez wouldn't be my first choice for Spurs, I'm certainly not put off by his time at Birmingham. I think McLeish has caused the careers of numerous talented players to stall, and Benitez certainly won't come into the Premier League not knowing what to expect this time around. His goal-scoring record in Mexico is considerably better than that of Jackson Martinez, who we've been linked to, and long-time Premier League player Hugo Rodallega.

However, Benitez is a small center forward at 5'6". His hold-up play is better than anyone would expect from a player of his size, but he's more of a poacher than anything. Though he's a much stouter figure than Jermain Defoe, he'd probably serve a similar function for a Premier League team, and score at a similar rate if he was picked up by a good one like Spurs.

The price Sutcliffe cites is €11m, or £9.4m in pounds. I wouldn't mind picking up Benitez, who I think is better than his Birmingham stint and a potentially great player as an impact sub or next to a bigger striker for a team that wants to play 4-4-2, but I don't think he's a good fit for Spurs at the cited price. Given that Everton and Liverpool don't play 4-4-2 either, I don't particularly like Benitez's chances of catching on with one of the Premier League's perennial European contenders, but he's worth a punt for a mid-table team that wants to partner him with a target man. Benitez has done plenty of work as a lone striker in Mexico, but he's probably not cut out for the role in the Premier League.

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