Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting confirmed that midfielder Carlos Benavidez would be joining Independiente as Ariel Holan begins something of a restructure in Avellaneda.
A target for El Rojo in the previous window, Ariel Holan appears to have finally got his man with a $2.5 million deal agreed to bring Carlos Benavidez to the Estadio Libertadores de América.
The signing comes swiftly after the news that influential midfielder Diego Rodríguez had been sold to Liga MX club Xolos de Tijuana and while Benavidez isn’t eligible to play in this year’s Copa Libertadores, the highly regarded youngster is a signing that demonstrates the club’s plan for the future.
Benavidez is expected to sign his contract in Avellaneda on Monday and Independiente will included a hefty $25 million release clause to safeguard their investment.
Carlos Benavídez no seguirá en Defensor Sporting y continuará su carrera en @Independiente 🇦🇷 para jugar con los “Diablos rojos” la próxima temporada.
— Defensor Sporting (@DefensorSp) June 22, 2018
Despite only playing 38 games for Defensor Sporting since making his senior debut in 2016, Benavidez already has two goals to his name in this year’s Copa Libertadores and helped the club to the 2017 Apertura and the Copa de Campeones.
However, it is arguably for the Uruguay under-20s that Benavidez has really established his name alongside the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur, Nicolás de la Cruz, Marcelo Saracchi and Nicolás Schiappacasse.
This glittering generation of Uruguayans lifted the Sudamericano title last year, 36 years after Enzo Francescoli guided La Celeste to their previous title, and while some of his international teammates have already established their names in Argentina and abroad, Benavidez has the potential to be next.
Physically strong and a good ball winner, Benavidez was the number five that allowed Bentancur to shine for Uruguay but there is more craft to the 20-year-old than just the role of destroyer.
The loss of Diego Rodríguez is a blow ahead of the Copa Libertadores knockout stages but Independiente with the club hoping to tie Ariel Holan down to a new deal in the coming weeks, there is an obvious intent to try and build.
Independiente are also negotiating with Paraguayan club Olimpia for 22-year-old Richard Sánchez and could use Fernando Amorebieta as make-weight in the deal but face competition from Racing Club among others for the talented playmaker.