MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

LAFC transfer Diego Rossi to Fenerbahce, deal among most expensive in MLS history

Fenerbahce have officially acquired on-loan Uruguay international winger Diego Rossi from LAFC via a permanent transfer, the Turkish Süper Lig club announced Friday.

Fenerbahce announced the deal was about $6 million (€5.5 million), but sources tell that, including the initial loan fee, the total package is around $10 million. LAFC also retain a sell-on percentage, which one source described as "significant."

The total deal is among the most expensive outbound transfers in MLS history, tied for fifth with now-New England Revolution striker Jozy Altidore, who was transferred from the New York Red Bulls to La Liga's Villarreal in 2008.

Rossi, 24, has four goals and seven assists in 25 league appearances with Fenerbahce this season. He also made six appearances in the Europa League.

Diego Rossi fenerbahce
Diego Rossi searches for space against Galatasaray.

DP implications

The deal leaves no doubts about LAFC permanently having an open Designated Player slot, which the Black & Gold intend to fill either now or in the summer. They operated during the offseason under the impression and expectation that Rossi wouldn't be returning.

LAFC have two DPs, though their respective futures are in flux. Carlos Vela's contract expires on June 30 and, while reported last week the two sides are in active discussions about an extension, nothing is agreed upon yet. Brian Rodriguez, meanwhile, has been linked with moves away from MLS essentially since he returned from a loan to Spanish club Almeria last summer.

Rossi's time in MLS

Rossi was one of LAFC's first-ever players and his signing from Penarol was a rousing success. The 2020 Best XI pick originally departed for Fenerbahce halfway through his fourth season (2021) in the league, and leaves after 48 goals and 21 assists across 104 regular-season appearances, including earning the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi during a 2020 campaign that was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. previously reported that Rossi nearly transferred to Belgium’s Club Brugge a few weeks before the Fenerbahce move, in a deal around $8-10 million, though that deal ultimately fell through.

The Uruguayan was the subject of ample transfer interest in the past. revealed before last season, Reading and several English Championship clubs hoped to add him on loan but were rebuffed by LAFC. This summer he was linked with the Premier League's Everton and Tottenham, though no formal bids were reported.

Club form

LAFC have enjoyed a strong start to 2022 under new manager Steve Cherundolo, sitting atop the Western Conference standings at the league's early stages with 13 points after six matches.

Fenerbahce are second in Turkey's top flight, though a distant 13 points behind first-place Trabzonspor. Fenerbahce are one of Turkey's biggest clubs, finishing second in the league last year. They're in the Europa League group stage this season and have several familiar names on their squad, including Mesut Ozil, Enner Valencia and Luiz Gustavo.