BUENOS AIRES, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Argentina midfielder Ever Banega has joined Newell's Old Boys on loan from Valencia for the rest of the season looking for regular playing time to prepare for the World Cup finals.
"The loan will be effective until June 30, 2014 with an option to buy the midfielder's full transfer rights, at 12 million euros ($16.18 million)," the Argentine club said on their website (www. newellsoldboys.com.ar).
The 25-year-old Banega, who joined La Liga side Valencia from Boca Juniors in January 2008 and also had a loan spell at Atletico Madrid, links up with coach Alfredo Berti's squad which includes Argentina winger Maxi Rodriguez.
Newell's are preparing for the "Final" championship, the second of two in the season, starting next weekend when they host Boca in Rosario and the Libertadores Cup, South America's Champions League equivalent, which he won with Boca in 2007.
Banega, who is from Rosario and a Newell's supporter, is generally seen as Boca Juniors playmaker Fernando Gago's understudy in Argentina's World Cup squad. He has made 24 appearances for his country, scoring twice.
"I know what class of footballer Banega is," Valencia's Argentine coach Juan Antonio Pizzi was quoted as saying by the daily La Nacion.
"I can't guarantee any player matches and, given he has the chance of going to the World Cup, he needs regular competition."
($1 = 0.7415 euros) (Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris)