Kundai Benyu won’t be leaving Ipswich Town this summer
- Credit: James Ager
Rising Ipswich Town star Kundai Benyu is going nowhere this summer.
The 19-year-old midfielder has long been tipped for the top and attracted the attention of Premier League scouts during a sparkling end-of-season loan spell at National League side Aldershot Town.
One national report has stated that he is set to walk away from Portman Road at the end of his contract next month, with Tottenham, Aston Villa, West Ham and Celtic all linked, but the EADT and Ipswich Star understand that negotiations over a new long-term deal in Suffolk are at an advanced stage.
And the Blues always have the fallback option of activating a 12-month extension clause in his current contract.
Born in London, the talented playmaker has just received his first international call-up for Zimbabwe (the birthplace of his parents) for an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia next month.
Benyu joined Town’s academy in 2011 and was on the fringe of the first team at the age of 16.
He was named on the bench twice in the Championship during the Blues’ play-off campaign of 2014/15 – including the East Anglian derby against Norwich at Carrow Road – but a knee injury sidelined him for much of the following season.
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After signing his first professional deal in February 2015, Benyu failed to kick on and was limited to Under-18 and U23 football.
Mick McCarthy allowed the midfielder to feature for Tottenham’s Under-19s at the NextGen Series tournament in Amsterdam last summer. Asked at that time whether Benyu had a future at Town, the Blues boss replied: “That’s up to him with his attitude and his approach to football and being here. It’s down to him, he’s got ability.”
Benyu subsequently admitted: “It’s my fault really. I had an attitude problem which put the gaffer off using me but I’ve apologised now and we’re on good terms again.
“I’m out of contract at the end of the season but hopefully at some point in the season I’ll be able to renew here for another couple of years.
“Hopefully if I keep playing well then it will persuade him to offer me something.”
Benyu scored five goals and provided several assists as Gary Waddock’s Shots finished fifth before losing to Tranmere in the play-off semi-finals.