benitezBlues have broken a club transfer record to snap up one of the hottest prospects in world football - Ecuador striker Christian Benitez.

The club beat off competition from top European clubs to land the services of Benitez on a three-year-deal.

An undisclosed fee has been agreed with Mexican club Santos Laguna and personal terms completed with the player, who will travel to England for a medical next week.

The son of one of Ecuador's all-time leading goalscorers, Ermen Benitez, the 23-year-old frontman brings with him bags of flair and creativity.

Benitez attracted attention across the globe with his performances in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and has impressed in Mexico's Primera Division over the last two campaigns, scoring 31 goals in 58 games after joining from El Nacional in his home town of Quito.

He recently underwent surgery on a shoulder injury and is unlikely to be involved when Ecuador play World Cup qualifiers against Peru (7 June) and Argentina (10 June).

Benitez has played in 86 per cent of Ecuador's competitive A grade games over the last two years - well above the required amount to obtain a work permit.