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Hibs reject Westerlo bid for Benjelloun

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Published Date: 24 July 2008
HIBS have turned down an offer from Belgian outfit Westerlo for Moroccan striker Abdessalam Benjelloun, it was revealed today.
After scoring 14 goals, including a glory double in the CIS Insurance Cup triumph 16 months ago, Benji endured a miserable season last term, plagued by injury and netting just once as he featured in just 18 of Hibs' 43 games.

Even so, the 22-year-
old striker broke into Morocco's international squad and found the net regularly in their opening World Cup qualifying matches.

As a result a clutch of Belgian sides were said to be interested with Anderlecht, Westerlo and, only this week, Charleroi linked to his name even although he still has two years of his contract to run at Easter Road.

Although Benji has started just five times since Mixu Paatelainen succeeded John Collins as Hibs manager, the big Finn today insisted he still valued the striker.

Today Paatelainen disclosed there had been an offer for Benji but refused to discuss details although the player's agent Clive Hart claimed it had been made by Westerlo and was rejected.

Paatelainen has made no secret of the fact he's keen to slim down what he sees as an over-sized squad although he is actively seeking fresh talent.

But he added: "Benji is a quality striker, no doubt about that, and I value him. He's a fantastic player, a goal-scorer, very skilful and we all know what he is capable of doing. He's had a frustrating season but every player goes through that at some stage in their career."

Scotland striker Steven Fletcher and January signing Colin Nish established themselves as Paatelainen's preferred strikeforce in the closing months of last season, leading Benji to claim he felt he needed to move to preserve his international career.

But Paatelainen declined to discuss whether the former Moghreb Fes player was one he'd be prepared to let go if the price was right. He said: "A lot depends on circumstances.

"I do not want to go into a list of players who may be going or possibly going."

The full article contains 353 words and appears in Edinburgh Evening News newspaper.
Page 1 of 1

  • Last Updated: 24 July 2008 11:02 AM
  • Source: Edinburgh Evening News
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Related Topics: Hibernian FC


24/07/2008 11:49:53
Get his attitude sorted and his head right mixu,he's one player we need in the team just now.


24/07/2008 12:31:03
to be fair he hardly got a look in last year. Nae wonder he is p1$$3d off


24/07/2008 12:41:00
dont know what the problem was last season with him? apart from sum injury's we got hit with the ramadan
sh!t but zemmama was still available during the same time? we need him fit and ready for the season,he's probably our most natural striker

Big T,

24/07/2008 13:01:07
If Iron Rod thinks he can line his pockets again he will be sold in a nano-second!

Hi Hi Hibees.....Ha ha ha hearts,

24/07/2008 13:01:57
The benj will come good, I rate him above Nish, give him a chance and he'll bang in 20 a season for us.


doris karloff,

24/07/2008 13:36:58
How the f~~k Nish gets a game before Benji I have no idea, against Raith, Nish looked like a Giraffe on ice!!

Benji although frustrating at times is a far more accomplished and skillful forward and can scare the s##t out of defences when he is in the mood

Old Enough To Know Better ;-0,

24/07/2008 13:57:23
Benji has the ability, he just needs to forget the hype and get on with playing football.


24/07/2008 14:11:41
its frustrating when you have a player like him at your disposal and cant seem to get the best out of him,he could be some player for us if we get him going again

Huck Finn,

Leith 24/07/2008 14:12:58
I'd like to see Benji up front with Zemmama behind him in the hole!!!


24/07/2008 15:12:58
his problem always was when we played 451 realistcally we went with killen then Fletcher up there ... but since we have gone to 2 you would have thought that he had to play but we brought Nish in.

The guys is scoring goals at international level but cannot get a game in front of Nish or Deano.

As I said before no wonder he is pi$$ed off ... and to me it doesnt reflect well on Mixu


24/07/2008 15:50:02
Hibs 'turn down' a bid for a player?

Excuse me, I have to have a lie down.


Edinburgh 24/07/2008 15:51:52
He always goes down like a sack of potatoes, and then makes a meal of it.

Mr Michael Mouse,

Belgium 24/07/2008 16:10:21
I can't believe that Benji would sign for Westerlo. The place has a population of around 4,000, a stadium that can hold twice that (but rarely needs to) and is a Flemish equivalent of say - Kilmarnock (no offence). This can only be bait from his agent to attract a bigger club.


24/07/2008 16:56:49
4000 people watching them? Sounds a bit like Hibs to me really.

13 - Kilmarnock aren't any smaller than your wee team, believe me.

Big Kenny Bluenose



UAE 24/07/2008 18:53:17
I would love Benji to stay.

This year, the Holy month of Ramadhan falls in September so I suspect Mixu will start the season preferring others.



24/07/2008 23:53:34
Can we not just sign a player of value..... why keep Benji he did nothing last season and doesn't want to play for us, so where is the value, take the money and run i say....


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