UPDATE 1/14: On Sunday, MLSSoccer.com reported that the Rapids had signed French winger Nicolas Benezet (read our original post below), and today, the club confirmed that they had acquired the rights to Benezet from Toronto FC for $50,000 in GAM and an additional $50,000 in GAM if he starts 75% of games in 2020.
Colorado Rapids Executive Vice President & General Manager Padraig Smith said that the club is “delighted to add to our attack with someone of Nicolas’ quality. He’s a goal-dangerous, dynamic player who excels out wide, while also offering us positional depth with his ability to play multiple positions in attack.”
Before playing with TFC, the 28-year-old spent four seasons with EA Guingamp. He had 86 appearances for the French side, with 12 goals and 10 assists.
First reported by French website/newspaper L’Equipe, the Toronto Sun also picked up the news and added that Benezet told L’Equipe: “The truth is that the GM (Curtis) did not want me to play so as not to pay the transfer to Guingamp (around 500,000 Euros)... I feel like I was fooled.”
He also started all four playoff games with TFC, including the MLS Cup Final.
Benezet became a free agent at the beginning of 2020 and when Michael Bradley agreed to a new TAM contract in December, Toronto FC President Bill Manning said, “It would be extremely difficult, unless [Benezet] was willing to come [back] under a salary cap [deal]. Not TAM.” Benezet made $600,000 last season with Toronto.
According to the MLS article, per Benezet’s agent, “three other MLS clubs were in discussions to sign Benezet but Benezet’s camp were impressed with Colorado’s serious interest, as well as head coach Robin Fraser’s history with Benezet.”
If this rumor proves to be true, Benezet will be the second player to move from Toronto to Colorado since Robin Fraser was hired in August.