irmingham City manager Alex McLeish insists the deal in place for loan striker Christian Benitez was simply too expensive.[LNB] The 24-year-old was signed on a season-long loan from Santos Laguna and while he looked a talent he mustered just three Premier League goals.[LNB]Blues paid the Mexican outfit a £700,000 loan fee, while they also spent an additional £350,000 for securing their top-flight status.[LNB]A fixed fee of £7million was in place this summer should Birmingham wish to sign him permanently, something McLeish concedes was too high.[LNB]The club's previous owners brokered the deal and while McLeish insists the Ecuadorian did a good job they would not be completing the deal.[LNB]"We did have an agreement, the previous board put one in place, so I don't think it's anything to do with the current board," he told the Birmingham Mail.[LNB]"He did very well for us. I am sorry to lose Chucho but the deal was just too rich for us.[LNB]"So my task now for my team, my coaches, staff, fans - everybody at Birmingham - is to find somebody who can do a better job.[LNB]''That's what I am employed to do. I have got to try and find a player who can be even better than Chucho, not just as effective; players in general who can improve us."[LNB]Their decision not to take up the option on Benitez has sparked a debate on whether McLeish has made the right choice on the striker's future.[LNB]The Scottish tactician is refusing to be drawn too deeply into the discussion, hinting that Benitez's lack of production was also a factor in his exit.[LNB]"You can dress up the statistics any way you want," he continued.[LNB]"We took 29 points in the first half of the season, we took 21 in the second half. There wasn't much of a difference and we had harder games in the second half of the season.[LNB]"And I had to be fair to the other players. Chucho wasn't the only one out of the team, either.[LNB]"If people were not playing at a level then other players had to get a chance. There's no point having a squad otherwise.[LNB]"So I can't just say to someone I will keep them in because we've had a great run of undefeated games."