TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Loan

New York City FC have loaned Valentin “Taty” Castellanos to newly-promoted LaLiga club Girona FC through June 2023, keeping the striker within the City Football Group family, the club announced Monday.

Castellanos, 23, departs after winning both MLS Cup and the Golden Boot presented by Audi award with NYCFC in 2021. The Argentine star is the current league scoring leader with 13 goals and two assists.

"I’d like to thank Taty for the amazing contribution he’s made to the club since he joined us in 2018," sporting director David Lee said in a release.

"His work ethic and commitment has been second to none and it's been a pleasure to watch him continually improve his game and become such an important player for our team and one of the best players in the league. From winning the Golden Boot last season and leading the line as we won our first MLS Cup, he’s written his name in the NYCFC history books."

Castellanos spent the last four-and-a-half years with NYCFC, initially joining the club in 2018 while on loan from Uruguayan side Torque, another member of City Football Group’s global portfolio.

He earned a full transfer in 2019 and departs NYCFC as second in their all-time scoring charts with 50 goals and 20 assists in 109 regular-season games, sitting only behind Spain national team all-time leading scorer David Villa.

“While it is difficult to leave this club, I strongly believe that this is the right time for me to move to Europe which has always been a personal dream of mine," Castellanos said in a release. "I feel confident and ready for a new challenge. I would like to thank NYCFC and Girona FC for giving me this opportunity and for finding a way for me to continue my journey and prove myself.”

The move caps a drawn-out transfer saga that included NYCFC putting a $15 million price tag on Castellanos in the transfer market. The Cityzens reportedly rebuffed moves from two South American giants – Palmeiras in Brazil and River Plate in Argentine – that fell below their valuation of Castellanos, while English Premier League sides reportedly showed interest as well.

In replacing Castellanos, NYCFC are expected to turn to Heber and Talles Magno as internal options. The MLS Secondary Transfer Window also remains open through Aug. 4, should they desire a move from abroad.

“We understand that [Castellanos] is eager to test himself in a new league and this option is the best for all parties where we are able to continue to take a long-term view of his career and what we ultimately believe he is capable of," Lee said.

“At NYCFC we have an incredible group of players with a variety of strong attacking options. We have a tremendous amount of belief in these players and our goals for the season remain the same.”

As Castellanos departs, NYCFC are currently second in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Philadelphia Union. But they’re on a conference-leading 1.95 points per game with a match in hand, sitting only behind LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race on the same metric.

With 13 regular-season games remaining, NYCFC return to action Saturday when visiting CF Montréal (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) in a matchup of two sides that competed in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League.

Girona have bounced between Spain’s first and second divisions for the past several decades. They earned promotion for the 2022-23 campaign via the playoff system and start their upcoming season Aug. 14 at Valencia.