FOXBOROUGH — Uruguayan side Nacional is still interested in Diego Fagundez, but its initial offer to the New England Revolution for his services was not a lucrative one.
Nacional was interested in signing Fagundez, who still has at least one year on his MLS contract, on a free loan, a source told Pro Soccer USA.
The Revolution have fielded offers and inquiries about Fagundez before, but were unsurprisingly not interested in letting one of their most dynamic attacking players and one of the faces of the franchise leave for nothing. The Revolution declined a request for comment.
Fagundez confirmed Nacional’s interest after New England’s second preseason training session Tuesday morning and said he’s excited by the prospect of playing in Uruguay but is committed to the Revolution in 2019.
“If everybody in the party was happy, of course I’m going to go,” Fagundez said. “How can I say no? “[Nacional] plays in [Copa] Libertadores, they play Clasicos. It’s different.
“But the Revs already made a decision. I had nothing to do with it because I’m under contract, so it was an easy way for me to go with it.”
During an interview with Pro Soccer USA, Fagundez’s father and agent, Washington, echoed his son’s sentiments about representing the Revolution.
“He’s happy. . . . He’s so, so happy in MLS and with the Revolution, and I think he needs to play this year and bring an MLS championship to the New England Revs,” the elder Fagundez said, before offering the following caveat: “In 2019, he will stay for one year more, . . . but I think he needs a change. Maybe one step more. He’s been here eight years.”
The Revolution made Fagundez their first homegrown player signing in 2011 when he was 15. He drew a penalty kick and scored a goal in his debut, a 3-2 loss to CD Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium that August.
He has since recorded 50 goals and 42 assists in 217 regular season appearances and represented the U-20 Uruguay national team, though he also holds an American green card and an Italian passport.
Fagundez’s time with Uruguay and EU citizenship helped put him on the radar of teams around the globe. His father confirmed that both Fiorentina and Atalanta of the Italian Serie A approached the Revolution about Fagundez in 2015, though he wouldn’t disclose details.
A separate source based in Italy said the two clubs offered the Revolution at least $2 million for Fagundez’s services, but the Revs turned the offers down.
Washington said he’s since received inquiries from teams in England, Germany and the Netherlands.
Timing could be a big factor for Fagundez if leaving MLS ever becomes priority. Nacional’s coach, Eduardo Dominguez, is interested in the player, but that could change over the course of two years.
For now, Fagundez will travel with the Revolution to Marabella, Spain on Friday for their first preseason stop ahead of the 2019 MLS season.