Ake Loba leaving NSH

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Loan

Nashville SC have loaned striker Aké Loba to Liga MX side Mazatlán FC with a purchase option before the end of 2023, the club announced Friday.

Since the move involves a loan, it won't open the Designated Player slot Loba has occupied – but if he's transferred outright, then there's DP flexibility. The transaction and resulting roster situation are similar to when Inter Miami CF loaned Rodolfo Pizarro to Liga MX's CF Monterrey last year.

Loba, a 24-year-old Ivory Coast native, joined Nashville in July 2021 on a club-record fee (reported $6.8 million) from Monterrey. But he never quite settled under head coach Gary Smith, posting just two goals and two assists in 40 games (two starts).

Since US international center back Walker Zimmerman and reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar remain as DPs for Nashville, they currently don't have any DP wiggle room for 2023 (barring changes in Loba's status).

As Loba exits, Nashville’s main strikers are MLS veterans Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong. They’ve relied heavily upon Mukhtar, though, as he directly contributed to 65.4% of Nashville’s goals in 2022.

Nashville have moved back to the Eastern Conference for the 2023 MLS season. They’ll play the year’s first regular-season match when hosting NYCFC on Feb. 25 (4:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass, FOX).