[UPDATES WITH OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT]
Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas arrived at D.C. United training camp Monday after being acquired from the Colorado Rapids for targeted allocation money and a 2018 conditional draft pick.
The trade, first reported by the Insider on Saturday and finalized over the weekend, will help United compensate for the departure of five-year starter Perry Kitchen, who declined United’s contract offer to pursue European opportunities. It would also fill positional and leadership voids, should Davy Arnaud (51 starts in two seasons) decide to retire because of lingering concussion issues.
United is seeking to bulk up central midfield ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Mexico’s Queretaro (Feb. 23 and March 1) and the MLS opener March 6 against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Club executive Jason Levien and General Manager Dave Kasper are in Europe attempting to sign at least one more player.
Sarvas, 34, was a Galaxy starter for most of three seasons, highlighted by a three-goal, 11-assist campaign in 2014. He won two MLS Cups before being traded last winter to Colorado, where he appeared in 25 of 34 league matches and posted two goals and an assist. He missed six weeks early in the year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
Sarvas’s contract is larger than United was willing to inherit ($360,000 base salary, $425,000 overall), so as part of the deal, a large portion will remain on Colorado’s books, multiple sources said. The exact amount was not revealed. One source believes it’s as much as half of the base figure. Specific financial agreements are never disclosed by clubs or the league.
The targeted allocation money United sent to Colorado can be used to soften the impact of a major signing. On Monday, the Rapids announced they had acquired attacker Shkelzen Gashi from Swiss club Basel.
While adding experience, Sarvas also adds age to the United roster. Including Arnaud, Sarvas is the 10th player age 30 or older (nine outfield players, one goalkeeper).
Two Europeans on United’s watch list have also passed that threshold: Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino and Greek attacker Georgios Samaras. Nocerino is unlikely to join United, sources said. Kasper is scheduled to visit Samaras in Greece before traveling to France and England for talks with other unidentified players.
United on Monday began its second week of training camp at IMG Academy Bradenton, Fla. The second preseason friendly is Tuesday afternoon against Sweden’s Jonkopings Sodra. United lost its opener last Friday, 1-0 to Sweden’s Elfsborg.