WASHINGTON — D.C. United midfielder Luciano Acosta left United’s preseason camp for Europe amid reports that French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain is interested in a deadline-day transfer for the Argentinian playmaker.
Acosta has arrived Paris in case he needs to undergo a last-minute medical ahead of today’s European transfer deadline. A deal is likely, but not complete, sources told Pro Soccer USA.
Acosta joined United on loan from Boca Juniors in February 2016, before United bought his contract in November the same year. His total compensation as of Sept. 15, 2018 was $652,000, according to the MLS Players Association Salary Guide. PSG is offering a reported £7.5 million (about $8.6 million), according to SkySports.
As recently as last week, United was locked in a multiyear contract negotiation that would make Acosta one of the top earners in the league. His current contract expires at the end of the 2019 season, which would make him eligible to sign a pre-contract with another club sometime this season. If that happened, United would miss out on compensation money.
Earlier this month, United turned down an offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal FC, which just struck a deal with Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco. Al-Hilal offered $7.5 million to United for Acosta, according to The Washington Post.
European giants like PSG have a significant advantage when it comes to wallet size and could easily offer a number United could not match. PSG, specifically, is looking to reinforce its attack after a foot injury sidelined Brazilian star Neymar for 10 weeks.
United could prepare to lose Acosta and switch focus toward bringing in support for forward Wayne Rooney or securing a permanent transfer for midfielder Yamil Asad, who returned to his club, Vélez Sarsfield, in Argentina last month. Talks with Asad previously stalled because the midfielder said he wanted to be with United, but did not want another loan deal.
When Acosta first joined United in 2016, he was the focus of the team and quickly proved himself to be a talented playmaker with fantastic footwork. For two-and-a-half seasons, Acosta bore the majority of the attacking pressure for United.
The team built around Acosta, adding midfielders, such as Zoltan Steiber, Russell Canouse, young Designated Player Paul Arriola and fellow Argentine Asad. In the middle of last season, Acosta was frustrated with the lack of support until United brought in English superstar Rooney. Sharing the pressure on offense, the unlikely duo lifted United from last place in the Eastern Conference to fourth place with a home playoff game at Audi Field.
Acosta is the latest in a string of MLS players to get major bids from overseas. Toronto’s Designated Player, Giovinco, was sold to Al-Hilal for a reported $2-3 million. Newcastle United paid a record-breaking near £21 million ($24 million) for Atlanta United all-star Miguel Almiron. Bayern Munich also broke records with a $22 million check for Vancouver youngster Alphonso Davies.