Newcastle have signed defender Florian Lejeune from La Liga club Eibar on a five-year deal.
The 26-year-old, who joined Manchester City in 2015 but did not play a game, is the Magpies’ second summer signing after winger Christian Atsu.
A club statement said: “Defender Florian Lejeune has become Newcastle United’s second signing of the summer transfer window after joining from SD Eibar.
The former France youth international Lejeune has also had spells at Girona and Villarreal.
“I’m very happy to have signed. Newcastle United is a big club, and I’m very happy to be here,” said Lejeune.
Benitez added: “I would like to welcome Florian to Newcastle United. He is a player that has done very well this year in Spain. I have known about him for a while, since he began playing for Villarreal.
“He has progressed a lot as a player in the last few years and I know he will give us something different at the back – he is good with both feet, he’s big and he’s good in the air also.
After cutting his teeth in French football, he moved to Spanish side Villarreal in 2011 and was picked up by Manchester City during the summer of 2015 and immediately loaned out to Girona, and he made a permanent switch to Eibar 12 months later.
Now the former France Under-20 international will hope to finally make his mark in the English top flight – he did not make a single senior appearance for City – after being persuaded that was where his future lay by Benitez.