UPDATE (Tuesday, 12:07 pm ET): The Colorado Rapids confirmed their acquisition of Nicolas Benezet from EA Guingamp on Tuesday, also confirming the club acquired his rights from Toronto FC for $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and an additional $50,000 in GAM if Benezet starts 75 percent of all games in 2020.
“We’re delighted to add to our attack someone of Nicolas’ quality,” Rapids EVP and GM Padraig Smith said in a statement. “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.”
ORIGINAL (Jan. 12, 12:05 pm ET): The Colorado Rapids have signed French winger Nicolas Benezet from EA Guingamp, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. The Rapids will send a $500,000 transfer fee to Guingamp. France's L'Equipe were the first to report the deal.
Additionally, the Rapids will send $50,000 General Allocation Money to Toronto FC for his rights, as well as a further $50,000 GAM pending performance-based incentives, per source.
The Rapids still plan to add a Designated Player attacking midfielder as well as another young elite prospect this winter, per source. Benezet joins a deep core of options out wide at the club, alongside Jonathan Lewis, Sam Nicholson, Diego Rubio and 2019 Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki.
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, per his agent Pierre Delcher. Fraser was an assistant at TFC before being appointed Rapids head coach on August 25. Benezet originally joined TFC on July 30.
Benezet, 28, made eight appearances (five starts) during the regular season with Toronto, adding two goals. He was an integral part of the club's ride to MLS Cup, scoring a key goal against Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference Final. He started all four playoff games, including when TFC lost in MLS Cup to the Seattle Sounders.
Benezet had 12 goals and 10 assists in 86 overall appearances for Guingamp and has appeared in 130 Ligue 1 matches across his career.