TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Transfer

Charlotte FC have transferred midfielder Riley McGree to English Championship side Middlesbrough, the clubs announced Friday.

McGree was Charlotte's second-ever signing in October 2020 and departs before the MLS expansion side plays a game (official or friendly).

McGree, a 23-year-old Australian international, spent the last year-and-a-half on loan at Birmingham City and made 30 appearances at the second-division side.

“We knew Riley was being tracked by a lot of clubs across Europe after his successful spell at Birmingham, and we finally fielded an offer that was too good to turn down,” sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a release. “To sell a player for profit that has never played a game for your club is a testament to our incredible scouting department who identified Riley as a player with a bright future.

“We will invest this transfer fee back into our inaugural roster as we continue to build towards the start of 2022. Everyone at the club wishes Riley the best of luck at Middlesbrough and throughout the rest of his career.”

McGree was linked with a move to Scottish Premiership powerhouse Celtic FC, though now he’ll look to help Middlesbrough gain promotion to the English Premier League. They currently sit seventh in the Championship standings.

Without McGree, Charlotte still have Jordy Alcivar, Alan Franco and Sergio Ruiz as key midfielders. They also selected Ben Bender No. 1 overall in this week’s 2022 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.

Elsewhere around MLS this winter window, Orlando City SC transferred US men’s national team forward Daryl Dike to Championship side West Bromwich Albion. Toronto FC also sent Canada men’s national team defender Richie Laryea to Nottingham Forest.

Charlotte begin their inaugural season Feb. 27 at D.C. United.