Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao took the microphone for one last set of comments about the club’s former star striker Cyle Larin.
Saying this was indeed the last time he’d talk about the Canadian striker engineering a transfer to Besiktas by refusing to acknowledge validity in his contract with the MLS club, Leitao tore into Larin.
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The 22-year-old player was clear that he planned to leave MLS following last season, but he thought he was free to leave the team while Orlando expected a transfer fee (which it eventually received).
Leitao said players are becoming more professional all the time, but Larin is an exception to the rule. When Larin showed up Besiktas, the thought process changed at Orlando City. From ProSoccerUSA.com’s Alicia DelGallo:
“At this moment, we have a conversation, ‘What’s the point to force a player with that character, with that personality, a troublemaker? What’s the point of bringing a player like that back to the club?’” Leitão said. “So we decided to engage in negotiations with the Turkish club and came up with, in my opinion, a very good negotiation and result for us as a club.”
Larin was on the bench with the hopes of making his Besiktas debut in Tuesday’s Turkish Cup win over Genclerbirligi Ankara, but did not make an appearance.
The Cyle Larin transfer saga may be finally coming to a close.
According to multiple reports in Turkey, Besiktas will pay Orlando City $2.3 million over the next three years for Larin to join the team before the end of the January transfer window. Larin had been determined to leave MLS for Europe after the end of last season and even though he initially agreed that the club option on his contract was valid, it appears he and his representatives changed their mind, and set up a trial with Besiktas.
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Larin was seen earlier this week training with the first team in Turkey.
The former No. 1 selection in the MLS SuperDraft was never able to grow upon his rookie season, when he scored 17 league goals for Orlando City. He scored 14 goals in 2016 and 12 goals in 2017, as Orlando City continued to fail to make the MLS Cup playoffs.
With Kaka now gone, Larin likely saw another rebuilding season ahead and decided to try his luck in Europe. Hopefully he’ll find playing time in Turkey, even though Besiktas just signed another forward – Brazilian veteran Vagner Love.
Orlando City has found its new playmaker.
After reports of a deal on Tuesday, Orlando City confirmed on Wednesday that it has acquired veteran attacking midfielder Sacha Kljestan and $150,000 in target allocation money from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding.
In the press release from OCSC, Kljestan was not referred to as a Designated Player, perhaps hinting that the club used some TAM to pay down his contract.
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“We are thrilled to bring Sacha to Orlando,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “His ability to see the field and make the final pass will be huge assets for us. But more than that – he’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s gone, and we look forward to that continuing here.”
Kljestan has proved to be the best assist-man in the league since returning to MLS in 2015, recording 51 dimes in 97 matches for the Red Bulls.
It’s a big loss for the Red Bulls as they lose their captain for the second-straight year, and while they bring in Rivas and Redding, both have yet to impress at this level. But at Kljestan’s age of 32, the Red Bulls may have wanted to cash in on the veteran while his value is still high.
The New York Red Bulls are at it again, sending a fan favorite and arguable Team MVP packing to a conference rival in the offseason.
A year after sending Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire, RBNY has shipped Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City SC.
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In exchange for Kljestan and $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, the Red Bulls will get promising defender Tommy Redding (20) and attacker Carlos Rivas (23).
The 52-times capped Kljestan finishes his tenure in New York with 22 goals and 37 assists in 121 matches. He is banned for the first two matches of the MLS season.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle:
Sources confirmed that Kljestan signed a new, two-year contract with Orlando, though it is unclear at present if he will remain a designated player or if his salary will be bought down with TAM
The Red Bulls dropped to sixth in the East but finished five points ahead of their closest playoff competitor, as close to the third seed as missing the playoffs. That’s a five spot and seven-point drop from 2016.
Orlando has flipped the script big time since the end of the season, with Kaka retiring and Cyle Larin preparing to sign with a European club.
The Lions have added NASL star Stefano Pinho, NYCFC’s RJ Allen, the Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal, and Partizan Belgrade’s Mohamed El-Munir.
Canadian striker Cyle Larin may be on his way to Turkey.
A report out of the Eastern European nation says Besiktas has reached an agreement with MLS and Orlando City regarding the 22-year-old.
Larin declared his intention to leave MLS for Europe after this season, where he scored 12 times with three assists in 28 games.
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Despite some off-field problems this season, Larin has been a bonafide star since becoming the No.1 SuperDraft pick in 2015.
He has 44 goals in 89 matches and would further an Orlando revolution already in full throat thanks to the retirement of Kaka.
The move could also be a precursor toward Besiktas’ transfer of star striker Cenk Tosun, who is wanted by Newcastle and Crystal Palace according to reports. Besiktas won Group G in the UEFA Champions League and faces Bayern Munich in the first knockout round.
Along with Alphonso Davies, Larin is part of an exciting group of young Canadian national teamers under the direction of Octavio Zambrano.