Canadian striker Cyle Larin headed to Turkish champion Besiktas
Clubs engaged in tug of war over 22-year-old former Orlando City star
Orlando City has agreed to transfer Canadian striker Cyle Larin to Turkey's Besiktas, but not without a parting shot.
The two clubs had been in a tug of war over the 22-year-old from Brampton, Ont., with Orlando insisting he was still under contract to the Major League Soccer team. The Turkish champions pushed ahead anyway, bringing Larin over to Istanbul.
On Tuesday, Orlando announced a deal had been done.
"After recognizing the existence of a valid contract, Besiktas J.K. has agreed with Orlando City SC on terms for the transfer of forward Cyle Larin to the Turkish side for an undisclosed fee," the club said in a statement.
"Although the club was disappointed with the unacceptable behaviour of the athlete and his representatives, a decision was taken to guarantee compensation with the club's future in mind. The club looks forward to focusing on the upcoming season with staff and players who honour and respect the strong values of the club and commitment to our community to lead us through 2018 and beyond."
Larin, a former MLS rookie of the year, has 43 goals in 87 games for Orlando over three seasons. He made $192,000 US last season, according to the MLS Players Association.
Reunion with Hutchinson
The move to Besiktas reunites Larin, who has played 23 times for Canada with five goals, with Canadian teammate Atiba Hutchinson.
Larin made no secret after last season that he wants to test his skills in Europe, only to find Orlando standing in his way.
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.
Life after Larin
In acquiring forward Justin Meram from Columbus on 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 $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.