Rovers sign Chilean as Bentley replacement

August 2, 2008

Blackburn Rovers have moved to fill the gap left by David Bentley's departure by signing Chile midfielder Carlos Villanueva.

The Chilean player of the year has joined Rovers on an initial one-year loan deal from Audax Italiano with the Lancashire side having the option to sign him permanently next summer.

If manager Paul Ince decides to keep Villanueva, the 22-year-old has already agreed terms on a three-year contract.

The attack-minded player has 12 caps for Chile and was a prolific scorer with his former club.

Although he is little known outside his native continent at present, Ince is certain Villanueva will prove a big hit at Ewood Park.

'It is an exciting signing, everyone is talking about him,' the Rovers boss said.

'He's a talented kid, he's a skilful player, I'm sure he'll excite the fans.

'Getting him here excites me and shows the kind of football I'm looking to play at Blackburn.

'We'll see how it goes, it is always hard when you come to a new country. I went to Italy and it took me a few months to settle down, so I don't want too much expectation on the lad - it will take him time to settle in, but we believe we have a decent player.'

Villanueva, nicknamed 'pineapple head', becomes Ince's second signing since taking charge following the arrival of England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

He will add creativity to a midfield shorn of Bentley this week when he joined Tottenham in a £17million deal.