Cyle Larin was absent as Orlando City opened training camp Monday, continuing his push to play overseas rather than with the Lions during the 2018 season.
“First and foremost, Cyle is a contracted [Orlando City] player. He was supposed to be here. Whether or not there will be repercussions for not being here is a little above my pay grade,” Orlando City coach Kreis said Monday after the Lions’ first preseason workout. “We look at that situation and say he’s an MLS and Orlando City player until we hear differently.”
Larin and his agent have suggested interviews his contract expired at the end of the 2017 season and he should be free to pursue his dream of playing in Europe.
Orlando City keeper Joe Bendik trains on the first day of training for the team on January 22, 2018. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel)
Turkish club Besiktas JK posted pictures of Larin on Twitter going through a medical exam Jan. 13 as part of contract negotiations. The club reportedly did not expect to pay a substantial transfer fee for Larin and was considering immediately loaning him out.
Orlando City has argued Larin signed an agreement acknowledging he has two club option years remaining on his contract and they are valid. Orlando City has hired attorney Marcos Motta, who handled Neymar’s transfer negotiations and Paolo Guerrero’s doping case, to protect its rights.
After the Lions’ protest, Turkish media suggested Larin might personally pay his own transfer fee. Now there are reports Larin is trying to join Olympiacos, a club that may be open to paying Orlando City a transfer fee.
While Orlando City pushes to protect their asset, the Lions have assembled a roster with firepower should Larin never return.
Striker Dom Dwyer signed a new contract and the club acquired forward Stéfano Pinho, who was a prolific goal scorer while competing in NASL. The Lions also added midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who led MLS in assists last season and should help correct Orlando City’s long-running difficulty finishing in the final third.