D.C. United has completed negotiations with Anderlecht and sold 19-year-old Andy Najar to the reigning Belgium champions, both clubs announced Wednesday. The fee was not disclosed, but a source with direct knowledge of the deal valued it at $3 million.
“It has been very rewarding to watch Andy grow and develop into becoming the special player that he is,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said in a written statement.
As for replacing Najar, Kasper added: “We plan to focus on utilizing our resources and flexibility to continue to build our team.”
Kasper was traveling to Florida and not immediately available for an interview.
[My story from earlier today provides some detail and examines implications for United.]
In anticipation of the transfer, Najar was not on the game-day roster today for Anderlecht’s 1-0 victory over Genk in the first leg of the Belgian Cup semifinals. He is scheduled to fly to his native Honduras on Friday for national team training camp ahead of a World Cup qualifier against the United States next Wednesday in San Pedro Sula.
United’s Chris Pontius tweeted: “I’m genuinely happy for the kid. Great player, unreal potential, awesome person.”
As part of an open letter to United supporters, Najar wrote: “A special thanks to my coach Ben Olsen and all of his staff. I came to D.C. United and chose #14 because I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He has been a great coach and more importantly an excellent role model for me to learn from. My teammates have cared for me like a little brother during this journey and I wouldn’t have been blessed with this chance without their hard work. Most importantly, I would like to thank the fans of the Club. From day one when I signed as a young man, they have supported me in tough moments and enjoyed the good times with me.”
Said Olsen: “I’m excited for him and the opportunity he has in front of him.”