Nottingham Forest confirm the signing of Chema on a two-year deal – his full name is Jose Manuel Rodriguez Benito.
The 27-year-old made 81 appearances for Levante UD in all competitions, scoring and creating seven goals. He’ll provide balance in the defence as a rare left-footed centre-back in the Forest squad – a problem area Sabri Lamouchi was keen to fix before the summer transfer window shut.
Chema’s career started at Elche before a short stint at Atletico Madrid 2011. He then joined AD Alcorcon in 2013 and spent three years at the Estadio Municipal de Santo Domingo before his switch to Levante. The Spaniard was a regular for three seasons and played the last two campaigns in La Lig, making 45 top-flight appearances.
There’s stiff competition for places at Forest from Joe Worrall, Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo, Alexander Milosevic, Michael Hefele and Yohan Benalouane, so Chema will have to train hard to impress Lamouchi enough to be selected. His place in the squad won’t be guaranteed just because he’s a left-footed centre-back.
Chema helped Levante finish 15th in La Liga last season and only conceded one or less goals in 11 of his 19 outings.