UPDATE (3:45 pm ET): LAFC officially announced the transfer of Ciman to Dijon.
“Laurent has been a big part of LAFC’s history. He will be forever remembered as the Club’s first captain and the first goal scorer at Banc of California Stadium,” said LAFC EVP of Soccer Operations and general manager John Thorrington in a club release. “These decisions are never easy but we succeeded in finding the right deal for both the Club and Laurent. We thank Laurent for his commitment and contribution to LAFC and wish him, his wife Diana, and their family nothing but the best in the next phase of his career.”
TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Reports
Laurent Ciman has been a prominent cog in LAFC’s inaugural season, but he’s poised to depart the club to join French Ligue 1 side Dijon FCO before the European transfer window closes at the end of August, according to multiple media reports.
The Belgian center back has captained MLS’s newest club and scored the first-ever goal at their Banc of California Stadium home, the dramatic game-winner in their inaugural home match, one of three goals he’s netted this year.
But various reports from ESPN FC, the Los Angeles Times and Nicolas Martineau of Montreal-based TVA Sports have revealed that Ciman’s desire for a contract extension – his current deal expires at the end of this season – and the lack of consensus between player and club on such a new deal has set up a return to Europe after four years in MLS.
ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported late Tuesday night that Dijon, who top the early Ligue 1 standings alongside Paris Saint-Germain with full points from their first three matches, will pay a transfer fee for Ciman, and will sign him to a two-year contract with an option year for a third.
An inspirational leader noted for his aggressive, front-foot style of defending, Ciman won 2015 MLS Defender of the Year honors in his first season with the Montreal Impact, helping that club reach the final of the Concacaf Champions League.
He was traded to LAFC last winter in exchange for defenders Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards, a move he called a “shock” at first, but came to embrace as coach Bob Bradley entrusted him with a major role in the new team’s maiden voyage. For his efforts, he was named an All-Star in 2018.
Bradley left Ciman out of the 18-player gameday roster in Friday’s 1-1 El Trafico draw with the LA Galaxy, saying, “I don’t think he’s fully focused in the moment” but adding, “I had a good talk with Laurent yesterday and said, look, right now let’s see if we can get things squared away for you.”