A report from Portuguese outlet Abola claims that D.C. United homegrown player Chris Durkin is close to joining Benfica on a 5-year-deal. The midfielder, who turned 18 in early February, would be the third United States player to join the Aguias in 18 months, following in the footsteps of former Philadelphia Union academy product CJ Dos Santos and more notably midfielder Keaton Parks, who joined Benfica in July of 2017 and extended his contract in December.
Durkin has been the subject of European interest for some time now and spurned offers from Inter Milan and Hannover 96, according to a recent Goal article. Durkin signed a four-year, $300,000 contract in 2016 and expressed love for the organization at the time of the offer, and following his time last year with the United States U-17 team, impressed early at camp and appears on track for first-team minutes with D.C. should he decide to stay.
Should Durkin decide to leave, or more to the point should D.C. give the go-ahead for him to do so after spurning previous European interest, it would be safe to assume that the offer for Durkin would be overly generous. While the Abola article characterized the German offer as unattractive, D.C. has had high hopes for the Durkin, rejecting good money in the past:
Not sure how much weight this has behind it right now, but a source told me over the winter that Benfica had already tabled an offer close to $1 mil.— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) February 28, 2018
Durkin looked solid in DCU training yesterday. Some MLS minutes this spring might increase his exposure. https://t.co/CwHus0Jc7n
Given the offseason news that teams can now keep 100% of homegrown player sales, with the possibility of using up to $750,000 of revenue as General Allocation Money (GAM), perhaps circumstances have changed and the offers have improved.
Nevertheless, while we would not want Durkin to leave, we wish him the best wherever he ends up, and will monitor this as events warrant.