Speculation surrounding the future of 21-year-old Independiente forward Martín Benítez has been rife this summer and although it was Turkish giants Galatasaray most closely linked, El Rojo have claimed that a bid from Real Madrid has also been rejected.
Galatasaray director, Fatih Isbecer suggested last week that while his own club’s bid for Benítez had been knocked back, they had actually been outbid by Los Merengues. While Isbecer hinted at his own sceptism, Independiente vice-president, Noray Nakis has now confirmed this approach.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper AS, Nakis said: “He is a very important player for us. We do not accept the offer from Madrid for them to then send him on loan to another club.
“Madrid want him to go to another club to get more experience.
“But Martín is very good and he has potential, so because of that, if he leaves he must go there directly to play.”
Galatasaray reportedly failed to meet Independiente’s valuation of Benítez after a bid of around €8 million was rejected and although these new reports suggest Madrid improved on this, El Rojo were still not willing to do business.
Club legend Ricardo Bochini last week stated that Benítez was worth nearer €15 million and if Independiente were to sell him now, any hopes of winning the title would be gone. For now at least it would appear the club are in something of agreement and certainly manager Mauricio Pellegrino has stressed the importance of the youngster in his starting eleven.
Under Mauricio Pellegrino in the second half of the Torneo 2015, Benítez starred for El Rojo and with captain Mancuello struggling with injury it was the youngster who emerged as a regular goal threat and focus of attack. Able to play on either flank or alongside Diego Vera as a striker, Benítez finally displayed the obvious talents that he frustratingly shown only in flashes as a squad player earlier in his career.
Ten goals in his 66 appearances to date for Independiente do not capture the progress that the academy product made in 2015. Prior to Pellegrino putting faith in Benítez, the youngster had made do with fleeting substitute appearances and all too often failed to impress. The talent was obviously there but at times, Benítez would play with his head down, running blindly at defenders and making the wrong decisions.
That changed last season and in his final 14 appearances of the season, Benítez scored six times and created a further four as the central figure in Independiente’s attack.
Benítez signed a contract extension only a couple of months ago which runs until 2019 at a time when Porto and Atlético Miniero were making advances and El Rojo are keen to retain the forward for at least another six months. Despite the debt that the club is in, the sales of Mancuello and Pisano have already brought in more than 55 million pesos and Benítez as viewed as central to Pellegrino’s plans for 2016.
Certainly losing Benítez at this stage would seriously dent any hopes that Independiente have or ending their wait for a trophy and if the forward was to have another positive season in Avellaneda, his value would only increase.