The “Will he stay or will he go?” dance with Medhi Benatia appears to be at its final conclusion. And, as a result, the guy coming into the next dance will be somebody who is probably going to be horribly dressed when he shows up to training most days.
According to multiple reports out of Italy on Friday, Benatia is basically a signature away from making his move to Qatar to play for Al-Duhail (and make a nice salary in the process). With Benatia leaving, Juventus have obviously had to act quickly to find a short-term replacement, and that guy is Martin Caceres, who will be returning for his third tour of duty with the Italian champions once Juve and Lazio hammer out the final details of the deal.
Both Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio and Goal’s Romeo Agresti (amongst others) have reported that Caceres has already signed his deal with Juventus and is just wait for Juventus and Lazio to finalize the last few necessary measures.
Also, according to Agresti, the 31-year-old Benatia has agreed to a three-year deal worth €5 million a season to make the move from Juventus to Al-Duhail.
Lascia la @juventusfc invece @MedhiBenatia che ha accettato l’offerta dell’#AlDuhail in Qatar @SkySport #calciomercato— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) January 25, 2019
Outside of the fact that Caceres — a very popular player amongst the supporters and in the dressing room by all accounts — is coming back after a couple of seasons in England and at Hellas Verona and Lazio is that the obvious beneficiary of Benatia’s exit is Daniele Rugani. As long as he’s healthy, it’s clear that Caceres will play, but Rugani is going to be the first name off the bench if there’s a need to rest Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci.
Benatia, who appeared in just five games in all competitions for Juventus this season, has been disgruntled about his playing time for quite a while now since Bonucci came back into the fold. It’s understandable seeing as he was essentially the guy who replaced Bonucci in the starting lineup and played well for a good amount of the time he was in there last season. However, with Bonucci back, Benatia’s playing time predictably took a drastic tumble downward.
And now, as a result, Benatia is heading to Qatar to find more playing time, with a high-socked Uruguayan coming back to a place he knows quite well to fill the void.