Transfer Tracker

Maxime Chanot departs NYCFC for France's AJ Ajaccio

Maxime Chanot - NYCFC transfer


Center back Maxime Chanot has departed New York City FC to join French Ligue 2 side AJ Ajaccio, the club announced Tuesday.

The outgoing move ends an eight-season stay for the Luxembourg international defender at the MLS Eastern Conference club, where he amassed 5g/1a in 165 regular-season appearances (157 starts).

The 33-year-old, who sported the captain’s armband this season, initially joined NYCFC for their second-ever campaign (2016) from Belgian side KV Kortrijk. The MLS Cup 2021 winner is second in all-time appearances (199 all competitions) for NYCFC, trailing only now-Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

“I have made the difficult decision to go back home to Corsica. I left home when I was 14, it has been almost 20 years, and I was presented with the opportunity to play in front of my family, which I have never done," Chanot said in a press release. "Until this opportunity arose, I never thought I would leave New York City, I love it here and have had the best years of my life here.

" ... To the fans, thank you for all the support you have given me over the last seven seasons."

As Chanot leaves, the turnover from NYCFC’s championship core continues. Johnson, center back Alex Callens (free to LaLiga’s Girona), right back Anton Tinnherholm (free to Sweden’s Malmö FF) and striker Taty Castellanos (transfer to Serie A’s Lazio) have all departed – while midfielders Maxi Moralez and Santiago Rodríguez did as well before eventual returns in 2023.

Without Chanot, Thiago Martins and Birk Risa are the club’s top center backs. Homegrown midfielders James Sands and Justin Haak can also deputize along the backline.

"We understand this was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for Maxime and his family," said NYCFC sporting director David Lee. "While we would have preferred to wait until the end of the season, we felt it was right to accept the wishes of a player who has given us such great service over the years. Ultimately, we understand this was a unique opportunity for him and one that wouldn’t have existed if we hadn’t accepted now."

NYCFC, sitting 13th in the Eastern Conference table (5W-10L-11D record; 26 points), are in danger of missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since their expansion season in 2015. To finish above the line, they must make up an eight-point gap with eight games remaining.