COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Colorado Rapids are making a big push to acquire center back Lalas Abubakar from the Columbus Crew. Abubakar joined the Rapids on loan this season and was named the club’s defender of the year. The loan move cost Colorado $125,000 in targeted allocation money, and the Rapids are willing to spend over $1 million in assets to acquire Abubakar permanently, sources told Pro Soccer USA. The assets would be a mixture of targeted allocation money (TAM) and general allocation money (GAM).
Colorado is one of several teams interested in Abubakar, according to a Crew spokesperson, who would not confirm specific bid amounts.
The Rapids’ original loan deal did not include an option to buy at the end of the season, but Abubakar endeared himself to the Rapids community with his personality and style of play. Speaking to Ghanaian outlet Zuria FM, Abubakar stated that he wants to stay in Colorado, but he knows Columbus wants him back.
A Rapids spokesperson would not confirm specifics but said, “I can confirm that Lalas is one of our offseason targets. He integrated himself well with the group in such a short amount time and was a solid contributor to our back line, so we’re hopeful we can bring him back next season.”
The current record fee for an intra-MLS defender transfer is $1 million, paid by Minnesota United to acquire Ike Opara from Sporting Kansas City before this season. The Rapids are willing to break that record for Abubakar.
Should the Crew accept the offer, it will give them the largest reported allocation-money transfers in league history for MLS SuperDraft picks on both offense and defense. Abubakar was the fifth-overall pick in the 2017 draft. Columbus also set a record when it transferred Justin Meram, the 15th-overall pick in 2011, to Orlando City SC for $1.05 million in 2018.