Orlando City secures transfer fee from Besiktas for Cyle Larin
Orlando City has released its hold on Cyle Larin after agreeing an undisclosed transfer fee with Turkish club Besiktas, while slamming the striker's "unacceptable behavior" in the dealings.
The transfer has dragged on for weeks because Besiktas and Larin's camp claimed he was a free agent, but Orlando said it held a club option for the 2018 and 2019 MLS seasons and was therefore entitled to a transfer fee.
Larin has been in Turkey for over two weeks, and Besiktas tweeted pictures of him undergoing a medical exam and posing in the club's jersey, while footage of him training also appeared.
In October, Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said the club would not stand in the way of Larin pursuing a move to Europe, but the Lions objected after Besiktas tried to sign the Canada international as a free transfer.
Orlando expressed its displeasure in how the transfer went down in its statement announcing the deal, writing: "Although the club was disappointed with the unacceptable behavior of the athlete and his representatives, a decision was taken to guarantee compensation with the club's future in mind.
"The club looks forward to focusing on the upcoming season with staff and players who honor and respect the strong values of the club and commitment to our community to lead us through 2018 and beyond."
Orlando did not disclose the fee, though ProSoccerUSA.com reported it exceeded the $2.3 million that had been touted by Turkish news outlets.
In 2015, Larin signed a five-year contract when he came out of the MLS draft as a Generation Adidas player, including three years guaranteed and two club options. The club officially picked up Larin's option for 2018 in November.
Orlando City officials said they had Larin sign a document acknowledging he was aware of his option years to ensure the player could not dispute those option years of his contract.
Larin has scored 43 goals in 87 appearances with Orlando City since breaking out as a rookie in the 2015 season. The No. 1 overall draft pick out of UConn, he set the single-season record for goals with 17 in Orlando City's first year in MLS.
His numbers have dropped since then as Orlando City changed coaches and systems, with the scoring 14 goals in 2016 and just 12 last season.
In anticipating losing Larin, Orlando City traded for Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer midway through last season. Last month the club also signed top NASL goal scorer Stefano Pinho from Miami FC.
Under MLS rules, Orlando will be able to use up to $750,000 of its share of Larin's fee as general allocation money. The Lions spent $300,000 in GAM a day earlier in signing midfielder Justin Meram in a trade with Columbus Crew SC in a deal worth a total of $1.05 million.
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