Premier League: West Brom boss Pepe Mel wanted to sign Christian Benteke
West Brom coach Pepe Mel wanted Real Betis to sign Christian Benteke when he was in charge of the Spanish outfit.
Last Updated: 28/01/14 11:25pm
Albion's Premier League trip to midlands rivals Villa on Wednesday is set to pit Mel against Benteke, who has made a considerable impact in English football.
The Belgium international has netted 30 goals in all competitions for Villa following his move to them from Genk in August 2012, with 23 of them coming last term.
And after a recent 12-game scoring drought, Benteke heads into the derby back in form, having netted once in each of his last two matches.
"I actually asked Betis to buy Benteke last year in the summer, but he was very expensive," said Mel.
"We played in a system with wingers and needed someone in the middle to put the ball in the back of the net. I think Benteke plays this role very well.
"But at Betis, as here at West Brom, on the one hand we have the head coach and on the other hand we have people doing negotiations. As the head coach, I wasn't involved in the negotiations."
Mel has also been discussing potential signings for his new club and indicated that he is looking to recruit another forward.
He dismissed the idea it might be someone in the "Benteke mould", though, suggesting they already have that in Victor Anichebe.
"We need someone who is mobile and able to drop in behind," Mel said. "Against Everton Anichebe was a really vital player for us."
Mel has wasted no time in preparing for what he describes as "a big game" on Wednesday, studying Villa closely.
He has taken in their 2-1 home loss to Arsenal - played four days after his appointment - and 2-2 draw at Liverpool that followed, as well as watching back their meeting earlier this season with West Brom, which also finished 2-2.
He said: "They are a very good team on the counter-attack, but they are also good playing it long and winning the second ball with Benteke.
"My players know this and we have worked hard on stopping these things.
"The 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns was a good match, but it is important for us to get three points this time."