COLUMBUS, Ohio —After previously announcing that Fanendo Adi had been placed on waivers, FC Cincinnati announced today that Adi’s contract has been bought out. At the same time, the Columbus Crew announced the addition of the former designated player to their squad.
Adi had a tumultuous time in Cincinnati. An early season DUI charge sidelined him, he was plagued by injuries, and publicly criticized both managers the club had last season. In October, he filed a grievance with the MLSPA claiming unfair treatment. All told, Adi was paid two million dollars to appear in 12 games, seven starts, and score one goal.
When FC Cincinnati placed Adi on waivers, any club could claim him. MLS clubs are in waiver order based on reverse results of the prior season, similar to the draft. However, clubs submit blind bids for the player, and the team who bids the most wins. If two teams bid the same amount, the team with the worse finish in the regular season last year gets the player. The team that placed a player on waivers has to cover the remainder of his salary, if not covered by the new teams claim.
In this instance, the Crew won the bid for Adi with a salary of $205,000, as reported by the Athletic. Cincinnati will be responsible to pay the forward the nearly $1.8 million remaining salary. By utilizing a buyout of the player, Cincinnati prevents having that money count against their cap in any way, but are still responsible for the out of pocket cost.
By 2019 salary numbers, $1.8 million would place Adi in the top 10 highest paid forward in the league, making more than current Columbus and US National team striker Gyasi Zardes. Getting Adi at a discount is a savvy move from GM Tim Bezbatchenko, who reunites Adi with his former Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter.
“Fanendo is a forward whose proven ability as a goal scorer in our League makes him a valuable addition to our team. We recognize that last year was a difficult year for Fanendo both personally and professionally and we believe this new opportunity will be beneficial for him, as it reunites him with Caleb, under whom he found career-high success. As a Club, we believe in what he can bring to this squad as a player and teammate and that he is someone who can provide us with additional offensive options on the field. We will be working on integrating him into the squad and we look forward to his contributions to the Club,” Bezbatchenko said.
Though he struggled in Cincinnati, in Portland Adi scored 51 goals and 14 assists over five seasons. If Columbus keeps their current one striker formation, he shouldn’t be a regular starter. However, with Zardes missing time for national team games regularly, and injuries always a threat to any team, this is a major depth upgrade. Adi should slot ahead of current backup forwards Jordan Hamilton and JJ Williams on the depth chart.
The first time Crew fans will get a chance to see Adi in action is the Visit Tucson Sun Cup which is set to take place from February 15-22.