When Real Madrid were hit with a possible transfer embargo in January, the Spanish giants responded with links to several top youngsters in world football. Boca Juniors midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur was reportedly close to a move to the Bernabeu, only for the move to fall through at the last minute and the 18-year-old has remained at La Bombonera since.
However, reports from Portugal claim that Jorge Mendes’ company Gestifute have now paid around $14 million for the rights to the Uruguayan teenager and this will pave the way for a move away from Buenos Aires in June. Benfica are being lined up as the most likely destination before a possible move to Real Madrid in the future.
Quite how this will work still remains unclear given FIFA’s ruling against third-party ownership but as Boca have already seen in recent months there are ways around this. Jonathan Calleri was similarly sold to an investment group, via Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonado, and then sent on loan to São Paulo for six months. Bentancur is at least for now expected to remain with Boca before making a switch to Europe in the summer.
Despite still only making 25 appearances for the Boca first team, Bentancur remains one of the biggest talents in the Primera. His enormous potential to play at the very highest level could see Mendes make a tidy profit even on a relatively large sum like the $14 million mentioned.
Another aspect of this move that requires clarification is Juventus’ part in this given that the bianconeri had acquired a first option on the 18-year-old as part of the deal that saw Carlos Tevez return to La Bombonera. Has this option now gone and were Juve given the opportunity to match Jorge Mendes’ offer?
With a wonderful range of passing, superb technique and a good workrate, Bentancur is a natural central midfielder, able to operate as a box-to-box type or further forward as an enganche and for several years has been one of the jewels in Boca’s academy.
A move away has looked inevitable and although a third-party transfer involving Jorge Mendes is not ideal, a possible move to Benfica could still prove beneficial to all involved.