New York Red Bulls complete Sacha Kljestan transfer from Anderlecht
The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer on Wednesday sealed a transfer from Belgian side Anderlecht for U.S. national team midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who ranks as the only American to regularly play in the Champions League this season.
The Red Bulls finalised the transfer from Anderlecht, where Klejstan had spent the past four-plus years after making the move to the perennial Belgian club power in June 2010.
Kljestan is the Red Bulls' first marquee signing since Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry announced his retirement after leading the Red Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals in 2014.
Goal.com first reported Tuesday that a trade swung by the Red Bulls had put them at the top of MLS' allocation order and thus at the front of the line for Kljestan. The Red Bulls sent left-back Ambroise Oyongo and midfielder Eric Alexander to the Montreal Impact in exchange for midfielder Felipe, allocation money and an international player spot for the 2015 season.
Top spot in the allocation order put the Red Bulls in pole position to sign a U.S. national team player currently playing abroad or any former MLS player returning to the league.
"This was an extremely complicated transaction that we worked on over the last few weeks," said Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis. "There were multiple variables that needed to be managed during the process. Ultimately, we were able to reach a point where we could bring Sacha aboard. I am elated to have Sacha join the club. We are confident that he will have a positive impact on the field, in the community, and with our fans."
Kljestan, 29, is a California native who starred at nearby Seton Hall University before spending his first four years in MLS with Chivas USA and then making the move to Belgium. He has earned 46 caps with the national team but was curiously omitted from both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads despite playing in multiple Champions League campaigns with Anderlecht.
Information from ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle was used in this report.