LAFC announced on Wednesday that the club has sent forward Diego Rossi on loan to Turkish club Fenerbahçe. Rossi scored the first-ever goal for LAFC in its inaugural 2018 season and was last season’s MLS Golden Boot winner with 14 goals in 19 games.
“Diego is going to Fenerbahce on an initial loan period that we believe will become permanent,” LAFC General Manager John Thorrington said. “Importantly this move opens up a designated player spot for LAFC for the first time in quite some time and also gives us resources to use in that designated player spot to improve the team.”
Thorrington mentioned that Rossi is the first player to be loaned or transferred to a European club. That is the intended goal for LAFC, to find young talent, develop that talent and move them on to clubs in Europe.
Rossi is a 23-year-old from Uruguay who was the second Designated Player in LAFC’s history. Each MLS team is allowed three Designated Players, whose salaries are outside of the team’s salary cap limitations. Thorrington was not willing to get into details of the loan in his media appearance on Wednesday, such as if the loan included a fee paid by Fenerbahçe, but he did say the move opened up resources to fill that now open Designated Player spot for LAFC. That will likely be a conversation for the end of the season where that money will be spent for LAFC.
LAFC is currently just outside of playoff position in the Western Conference standings with 24 points on the season, three points away from Salt Lake City and Portland for seventh seed in the conference and are 6-9-6 after 21 games played on the season. It will be a challenge for LAFC to find goals without Rossi.
“The timing of a summer (transfer) window in MLS is difficult,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s difficult when you lose players in the middle of a season.”
Despite the timing being less than ideal, that’s how the transfer window lands for MLS teams. LAFC’s opponent on Saturday will be Sporting Kansas City who is still awaiting new signing Jose Mauri after sending 19-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio to Venezia FC last month.
Regardless of the timing, LAFC’s general manager and coach both said the club is happy to see Rossi get a start in Europe. LAFC knew this day was coming from the beginning of Rossi’s time there and this is part of the development plan for both the club and for Rossi.
“Timing is not perfect, but in all other ways we wish Diego the best,” Bradley said.
“Fenerbahçe is a big club and it’s a big opportunity so we’re excited to see how he continues to grow.”
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