Danish striker Rajko Lekic is expected to join the New England Revolution next week after sealing a move from Silkeborg IF.
The 29-year-old striker received his P1 work visa in Denmark on Friday after previously agreeing to contractual terms with MLS and the Revolution. He will travel to Boston on Sunday and undergo a medical exam on Monday.
If Lekic passes the medical as expected, he will link up with his new teammates for training on Tuesday and join the active roster upon the receipt of his international transfer certificate.
“It has been a long process,” Revolution vice president of player personnel Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “His club was willing to work with us on getting this done, so that was very helpful. We're looking forward to getting him in here and getting him training [with the team].”
Lekic's recent training stint with the Revs established the required foundation for the move. Silkeborg granted the once-capped Danish striker permission to travel to the United States and practice with the Revolution for two days last month during a break in its domestic schedule.
The brief visit confirmed the Revolution's interest in moving forward with a potential deal for a player with a prolific goalscoring pedigree in the Danish Superliga.
“The fact that we had the chance to look at him for a couple of days of training obviously helped us come to the conclusion that we wanted to bring him on board,” Burns said. “I think his scoring record speaks for itself. We're hopeful that he'll continue scoring goals for us.”
Although all parties involved wanted to pursue a transfer, the striker's contractual situation slowed down the process of completing the move. Lekic's deal with Silkeborg did not expire until the end of the calendar year, but the two clubs eventually reached a mutually agreeable resolution to pave the way for Lekic to make his move to MLS.
“It's not easy sometimes getting players [under those circumstances],” Burns said. “Silkeborg was cooperative in the process and we appreciate that. The fact that he would have been out of contract at the end of the year obviously factored into it with his desire to come here.”
Although Lekic could have played out the end of his deal with Silkeborg, his desire to join the Revolution played a key role in clinching the deal and ensuring the club would finally add the striker it craved before the transfer window slammed shut.
“I think that it was something that we wanted to try to get done, but, as importantly, if not more importantly, it's something that he wants to do,” Burns said. “You always want to have guys in your club who want to be here and who want to play for you. We feel like we're both on the same page with it. I just got off the phone with him a little while ago and he's excited to join us.”
In order to create room for Lekic within the eight available international slots, the Revs will move Diego Fagundez to the unavailable list once the Danish striker joins the roster.
Fagundez, a Uruguayan-born homegrown player, cannot feature in the first team while he remains on that list, but he is eligible to move back to active status at any point if an international slot opens. Although he is not eligible for first-team action, he can play in reserve and youth team matches.