Turkey’s Besiktas has reached a deal with Major League Soccer to acquire Canadian striker Cyle Larin from Orlando City SC.
A source said the transfer could be announced as early as Tuesday. Orlando, however, declined comment.
The 22-year-old from Brampton, Ont., made no secret after last season that he wants to test his skills in Europe, only to find himself in a tug-of-war when MLS said that Larin was under contract with Orlando City through 2019.
The Turkish champion ramped up the stakes in mid-January by tweeting photos of Larin giving a thumbs-up in a Besiktas jersey and in the midst of what looked like a medical.
"Negotiations on for signing Canadian striker Cyle Larin as he undergoes physical," the club said on its English Twitter feed.
Video of what looked like Larin training with the Turkish team also surfaced on social media.
Orlando City responded via a terse statement.
"The club has not agreed to terms on a transfer of Larin and will take all necessary action against Besiktas in response to the announcement," the statement read. "Larin remains under contract with Orlando City through 2019 and is expected to join his teammates at preseason camp later this month."
But in acquiring forward Justin Meram from Columbus in Monday, Orlando appears to be preparing for life after Larin. The American-born Iraq international has 37 goals and 33 assists in seven seasons with Columbus, collecting 13 of those goals in 2017.
Columbus got US$1,050,000 in allocation money for Meram: $300,000 in targeted allocation money and $300,000 in general allocation money for the 2018 season and $450,000 in TAM for 2019 season, plus an international roster slot for 2019.
Meram joins Dom Dwyer in the Orlando attack.
Larin, a former MLS rookie of the year, has 43 goals in 87 games for Orlando over three seasons. He made $192,000 last season, according to the MLS Players Association.
Larin has played 23 times for Canada with five goals. The move to Besiktas reunites Larin with Canadian teammate Atiba Hutchinson.