As the secondary transfer window in Major League Soccer comes to a close on Thursday afternoon, Seattle Sounders FC added two attacking players to its roster prior to the deadline. From leading Brazilian side Grêmio, Seattle has acquired 21-year-old attacker Léo Chú, who joins the club on a four-year contract with an additional club option year. He will occupy an international roster position and a U-22 initiative slot. He is being formally added to Seattle’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
Additionally, the club has signed veteran winger Nicolas Benezet from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). As part of the agreement, Colorado can acquire an additional $50,000 in GAM should certain conditions be met. The 30-year-old Frenchman has spent the past three campaigns in MLS with Colorado and Toronto FC, having previously represented multiple professional sides in his native country. Benezet’s contract is guaranteed through the 2021 season, with a club option for 2022. Colorado is retaining a portion of his salary budget charge, and he will occupy an international roster position.
“We are pleased to add two quality players in Léo and Nicolas before the end of the secondary transfer window. Both are dynamic attackers that strengthen our roster as we begin the home stretch of the 2021 season,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey.
Lagerwey continues, “In Léo’s case, we were able to utilize the league’s new under-22 player initiative, and he is a player that was high on our list in this regard. His speed and versatility make him an intriguing option for our club, and like any young player, we are looking forward to integrating him into the organization and giving him the tools to succeed. Nicolas is a veteran and knows our league well from his time in Colorado and Toronto. We believe he can support multiple positions, and as we’ve seen many times already this season, having depth at several spots is critical. We’d like to officially welcome Nicolas and Léo to Seattle and we look forward to getting them up to speed in the coming days.”
A promising 21-year-old attacker that can play multiple positions, Chú comes to the Emerald City from storied Brazilian club Grêmio. Known for his pace and attacking ability, Chú is capable of playing attacking midfield or on the wing, where he has featured primarily for Grêmio on the left. Chú has made 38 professional appearances for the Porto Alegre side and on loan for fellow Brazilian club Ceará Sporting Club between 2019 and 2021, recording five goals across all competitions. He is the first player to be acquired by Sounders FC using the league’s new U-22 player initiative.
“Both Léo and Nicolas fit our club’s needs across multiple positions and we are excited to welcome them to Seattle,” said Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. “Léo’s versatility and attacking profile are attributes that stood out to our club during the scouting process, and we believe he has the potential to make an impact as he settles in the United States and continues developing his game. With Nicolas, he knows what it takes to compete in this league, and he is effective at playing multiple positions across the midfield. Whether on the wing or a more central attacking role, we like that he gives Brian and our assistant coaches options at various spots.”
Benezet joins the Rave Green after making 23 appearances and recording four assists for Colorado since the beginning of the 2020 MLS season. Prior to his time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the French international made 12 appearances for Toronto FC after joining the Reds during the 2019 summer transfer window from French side Guingamp. He played in all four of Toronto’s matches in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. He also recorded a goal against Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference Championship that season, scoring three goals during the 2019 campaign before falling to Sounders FC in MLS Cup at Lumen Field. A native of Montpellier, France, Benezet played more than 200 professional matches in his native country for Nîmes, Évian, Caen and Guingamp. He has played attacking midfield and left wing throughout his career.
TRANSACTION: Seattle Sounders FC signs midfielder Léo Chú via transfer from Brazilian side Grêmio on August 5, 2021, using Major League Soccer’s U-22 player initiative.
Name: Léo Chú
Pronunciation: LEY-oh CHEW
Jersey Number: 23
Born: April 6, 2000
Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Acquired: Signed via transfer from Brazilian club Grêmio on August 5, 2021 using Major League Soccer’s U-22 player initiative
TRANSACTION: Seattle Sounders FC acquires midfielder Nicolas Benezet via trade from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for $50,000 of General Allocation Money (GAM), and potentially another $50,000 of conditional GAM.
Name: Nicolas Benezet
Jersey Number: 20
Born: February 24, 1991
Hometown: Montpellier, France
Acquired: Signed via trade with Colorado on August 5, 2021 in exchange for $50,000 of General Allocation Money (GAM), and potentially another $50,000 of conditional GAM.