x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bowyer signs for Birmingham

The player completes his move from West Ham after a loan spell, while record signing Christian Benitez vows to repay the faith shown in him.

Birmingham have completed the signing of former West Ham midfielder Lee Bowyer on a two-year contract. Bowyer became out of contract at Upton Park on July 1 and has made the switch to St Andrews after an impressive loan spell during the second half of last season. He has put pen to paper on a deal which will keep him at Blues until the summer of 2011. Bowyer has experienced a fair share of controversy throughout his career but played a major role in helping City regain their Premier League status at the first attempt. He made 17 appearances for manager Alex McLeish's side, scoring his only goal on his debut against Cardiff in January. The 32-year-old began his career at Charlton before switching to Leeds in 1996 for a fee of £2.8million - a then record transfer for a British teenager. He joined West Ham in 2003 but moved to Newcastle six months after, only to return to Upton Park three years later. Birmingham's record signing Christian Benitez has vowed to repay the faith shown him in by the English Premier League newcomers after completing his £7.7 million (Dh45.45m) move. Benitez, 23, has scored 31 goals in the last two seasons for the Mexican side Santos Laguna and played for his country in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. He is currently recovering from a shoulder injury and has to secure a permanent visa but is relishing making an impact at St Andrew's.

Benitez told City's official website: "I'm very happy to be here. I know Birmingham City is a good club and since I have been in this country I have been really well received by the people at the club. "I'm expecting a good season and I will try to do my best for the team and repay the confidence the club has shown in me. "I know this is a good challenge for both me and the club and I'm really happy to be a part of it. "I think this is the right time for Christian Benitez to play in the Premier League and I want to show the fans why Birmingham wanted to sign me.

"You never know when the right time is to come to the Premier League, but I take every challenge as it comes and I think I can show the Birmingham fans that I'm prepared to do a good job. "I hope I can play my part in bringing back good times to the fans. I will try my best to help create and score as many goals as I can and sharing those moments is a special feeling." Benitez will link up at City with his international teammate, the defender Giovanny Espinoza. He said: "Giovanny is a great player who I have known from Ecuador for a long time. I'm very happy he's here at Birmingham too as it's always nice to have a player you know at a new club.

*PA Sport