Following weeks of he-said-she-said back-and-forth over the immediate future of Cyle Larin, the details of the Canadian international’s move from Orlando City SC to Turkish giant Besiktas has reportedly been agreed by all parties, according to a report from Pro Soccer USA.
Before delving into the details, a quick refresher: Larin began garnering interest from Europe around this time last year; interest ramped up during the summer, but Orlando City refused to sell before the end of the season due to service time with the team (their percentage of transfer fee retained would go up after three full seasons); Besiktas approached Orlando and Larin this winter; having believed a deal was done, Besiktas flew Larin to Turkey where he underwent a medical evaluation and photos, along with an announcement of sorts, were shared by the club; Orlando insisted that no deal had been finalized; Besiktas contended that Larin’s contract with MLS, which included unilateral option years, was invalid by FIFA standards.
Fast-forward to Monday, and the final piece of the messy puzzle has reportedly been resolved: Orlando and the MLS league office have agreed on an unprecedented percentage split of Larin’s transfer fee — Orlando will keep 100 percent, as opposed to the league’s stand two-thirds share (for non-Generation adidas players) — from Pro Soccer USA:
Orlando City will keep the full amount of the transfer fee because of the lengthy ordeal instead of giving 30 percent to the league and 10 percent to the player as is usual for a third-year Generation adidas player, per sources.
This, of course, leaves MLS in yet another confusing gray area: previously, only outgoing transfers of homegrown players (Larin was drafted first overall in the 2015 Super Draft) were to net a team 100 percent of a fee paid; the league’s single-entity structure would absorb the other one-third after two-thirds went to the team (a few examples: Kei Kamara, to Middlesbrough; Fabian Castillo, to Trabzonspor; Uri Rosell, to Sporting CP).
Now, for the first time, Orlando will keep the entire fee for a non-homegrown player, which will lead to every team wanting and expecting the same treatment upon future sales. Take, for instance, Jack Harrison, who’s widely expected to leave New York City FC for either Stoke City Middlesbrough, for anywhere between $5 million and $8.5 million, in the next 48 hours.
What’s the threshold for time and messiness that a transfer saga must meet in order for a team to maximize that transfer revenue? It’s an absurd question to consider, but because MLS continues to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to roster rules and regulations, here we are.
One day — soon, hopefully — a departing player caught up in a similar situation will follow through and contest MLS’s practice of unilateral option years, which is what this entire saga comes back to, in front of FIFA. That player will, hopefully, score a massive victory for every non-Designated Player in the league, many of whom live year-to-year without the financial security of a guaranteed contract. Within the current setup, power lies in the hands of the league, and the league only. It’s a toxic, but lucrative, way of doing business.