The management wanted to stay put through the January window, but elected to allow Medhi Benatia, who has been clamouring to play more for a while, to leave. He joined Qatari side Al Duhail, which is managed by former José Mourinho assistant Rui Faria, for a €8M plus €2M bonus on a lucrative three-year deal. As his replacement, they have quickly struck a deal with Lazio for Martin Caceres, who will wear the black-and-white shirt for the third time in his career. The two teams agreed on the simplest formula: a six-month loan for €600k fee.
El Pelado first joined the Old Lady in 2009 on loan from Barcelona, when he quickly managed to become a starter at right back, but his season was cut short by sports hernia and the club did not pick up the option to buy. He then returned for a much longer and fruitful stint, from January 2012 to June 2016. He was mostly a key reserve in multiple defensive positions in those years and totaled 110 appearances and seven goals.
After leaving as a free agent, mostly because of injuries, he had a cup of coffee with Southampton before returning in Serie A, at Verona, where he showed well for six months, earning a call from Lazio. However, he was never able to gain the starting job in Roma, appearing just 18 times one calendar year. The Uruguayan international joins Daniele Rugani and Andrea Barzagli in the pecking order behind Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and can also play full-back if need be. He has always been a fan favourite for his gritty and aggressive style, however he tends to be a little injury prone.
Benatia leaves Juventus after two and a half seasons, where he amassed 59 appearances. He initially joined on loan from Bayern Munich, then the Bianconeri signed him for €17M in the summer of 2017, despite his back-up role and some physical issues. He followed that with a strong campaign, where he grabbed the starting job from November on, but he marred it with two key mistakes, the infamous late penalty in Madrid, where he was severely out of position, and the Kalidou Koulibaly goal in Turin, where he lost the opponent on a corner kick. He was not used consistently after the return of Leonardo Bonucci and voiced his malcontent for months, even publicly.
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