Bobby Convey's transfer from D.C. United to English club Reading was finalized yesterday for an estimated $1.5 million, ending the 21-year-old midfielder's five-year stay in Washington and opening a slot for the MLS club to make a major acquisition.
Convey had spent the last couple days in England to undergo a physical and finalize a British work permit, which was approved without any complications. He is expected to make his Reading debut Aug. 2 in a friendly against Manchester City and play in his first league match Aug. 7 against Brighton.
Reading, whose interest in Convey was first reported by The Post last weekend, will pay Convey approximately $500,000, tripling his MLS salary. The transfer fee that MLS will receive from Reading could increase depending on Convey's performance.
MLS also announced yesterday the sale of Chicago midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, 22, to Dutch power PSV Eindhoven for an estimated $2.5 million.
"Major League Soccer and D.C. United have given me a home these last few years to develop my game and become the professional I am today, and for that I'm grateful," Convey said in a prepared statement. His move comes one year after a deal to join Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League collapsed because of work permit issues.
Convey, who joined United in 2000 at age 16, finished his MLS career with eight goals and 16 assists in 89 games. He was limited to 10 games for United (5-6-6) this year because of injuries and U.S. national team commitments.
Convey has also made 26 appearances for the U.S. squad overall and could continue to play a part in the Americans' World Cup qualifying efforts, which will resume next month at Jamaica.
"We expect to see Bobby become one of Europe's strongest left-sided players and a major force behind Reading's drive toward promotion to the Premier League" from the First Division, Reading Director of Football Nick Hammond said.
Because of Convey's high-profile status in MLS, United will receive a major player allocation from the league, which oversees all player transactions.
However, team president Kevin Payne said that while the club is planning to fill Convey's roster spot and salary-cap space as soon as possible, it might hold off on the major allocation until the offseason.
"We don't want to rush into something," he said. Speaking in general about the team's roster situation, Payne added, "We're still looking for a big forward who's comfortable playing in the penalty area and we might go after a midfielder as well, but we'll have to see how things work out."
United is interested in a pair of unidentified Argentine players and has approached Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio, who plays in Honduras. "We've had some conversations [about Emilio], but I'm not sure that will go anywhere," Payne said.
Soccer Notes: Columbus won a special lottery for the rights to Danny Szetela, a 17-year-old midfielder from the U.S. national team program who signed with the league last week. However, the Crew might end up trading the New Jersey native to the MetroStars. . . .
Midfielders Ben Olsen (mother's wedding in Pennsylvania) and Earnie Stewart (groin injury) will not travel to Dallas for Saturday's league game, leaving the club with only one of its usual five midfield starters.
Convey has left the team and Dema Kovalenko is suspended; forward Alecko Eskandarian will also serve a one-game suspension for accumulating yellow cards in league play and all-star defender Ryan Nelsen is questionable with various ailments. . . .
United Coach Peter Nowak closed practice to the media yesterday for the first time this season following Wednesday's 2-1 upset loss to minor league Richmond in the U.S. Open Cup.