Fabian Castillo is finally headed to Turkey.
FC Dallas announced on Thursday evening that the Supporters’ Shield leaders have sent the 24-year-old Colombian winger on loan to Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor for the remainder of 2016, with Trabzonspor holding an option to buy Castillo outright in January.
Trabzonspor also tweeted the news on Thursday afternoon:
Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus reported that Trabzonspor will pay a $3 million fee for Castillo up front. A source confirmed the report to MLSsoccer.com later on Thursday, adding that the option to buy Castillo outright in January will cost at least $1 million, and potentially up to $1.5 million.
As per MLS policy, FC Dallas will receive two-thirds of any transfer fee, with the remaining one-third going to the league.
The news brings an end to a weeks-long, will-he-or-won’t-he transfer saga. Photos and videos emerged on social media of Castillo being welcomed by Trabzonspor fans at an airport, of him posing with club officials while wearing a jersey and of him signing a contract, despite the fact that a transfer had not yet been agreed upon.
Straus reported that Dallas were willing to make a deal with Trabzonspor during this period, and that the clubs initially agreed to a $4 million dollar transfer. However, concerns apparently arose about whether or not Trabzonspor could pay the entire sum, so the deal was reportedly amended to a loan in which Trabzonspor would pay $2 million up front, and another $2 million if they chose to buy Castillo outright in January. Straus reported that Dallas then reverted to the initial $4 million fee when new concerns arose.
The deal appeared dead in the water over the weekend, as the money had still not arrived. FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said after Dallas’ 2-0 win against Vancouver on Sunday that he expected Castillo to return to Dallas for training, and the club issued a statement on Monday saying “there is no deal to transfer” Castillo and that they expected “him to return to Dallas for training.”
Castillo was apparently dug in, however. Photos of him in Turkey continued to emerge on Tuesday and Wednesday, and his agent, Raul Ramirez, tweeted on Monday and Tuesday that he was in New York City for a series of meetings at the MLS offices to resolve the transfer saga. Ramirez tweeted later on Tuesday that he was headed to Istanbul from New York and that things looked “very positive” for Castillo’s career.
The story came to a close on Thursday, with Castillo now headed to Turkey for at least the remainder of the year.
The timing of the transaction leaves Dallas with no time to bring in a non-free agent replacement. The MLS secondary transfer window closed at 1 am ET on Thursday morning, meaning the club can no longer acquire players via trade or through a transfer or loan. Dallas can now only add players who are out of contract at the time of the transaction.
Dallas, who are currently in first place in currently in first place in the West and in the Supporters’ Shield standings and boast the best points-per-game average in the league, will open their 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League campaign against Real Estelí on Thursday night at Toyota Stadium (8 pm ET; UDN). Dallas are off in MLS play this weekend, but will return to action next Wednesday against the LA Galaxy in the US Open Cup semifinals (10:10 pm ET, ESPN2).