FC Cincinnati announce Fanendo Adi, Fatai Alashe as first MLS signings

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trades

FC Cincinnati revealed its first two MLS signings on Monday in forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder Fatai Alashe.

Cincy acquired Adi from the Portland Timbers in exchange for between $850,000 and $950,000 in total allocation money, as well as a portion of any future international transfer value through the 2020 Secondary Transfer Window. 

A US permanent resident, Adi will occupy a domestic roster spot – in addition to a Designated Player spot – on Cincinnati’s 2019 MLS roster. A deal is expected to be completed that would see Adi join FC Cincinnati for the rest of the club’s 2018 USL season.

A 6-foot-4 striker from Lagos, Nigeria, Adi scored 54 goals in 126 games in Portland, twice posting 16-goal seasons in his four-plus years in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Fanendo to Cincinnati,” said managing owner and club CEO Carl H. Lindner III in a statement. “We believe he will find himself quickly ingrained in our city and beloved by our passionate fanbase. We’re excited for him and his family to settle in and hit the field for us.”

Portland will receive $450,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), with the potential for up to $100,000 more in future bonus TAM for Adi’s on-field performance.

Meanwhile, Alashe was secured from the San Jose Earthquakes, with the 24-year-old already set to play on loan for FC Cincinnati in the USL for the remainder of the 2018 season. He will be added to the team’s USL roster pending league and federation approval.

Additionally, Cincinnati has obtained Alashe’s MLS rights from San Jose in exchange for $135,000 in total allocation money. San Jose will receive future considerations if Alashe hits certain statistical benchmarks with FC Cincinnati next season.

Alashe has played only 4 minutes in July as he works through a groin injury.

“Fatai is a player who brings a wealth of MLS experience at a young age,” said head coach Alan Koch. “He’s shown his quality over the last few seasons in MLS and we envision him contributing to our team both short and long term. His character and persona will be a valuable addition to our locker room. As soon as he is back to match fitness we will integrate him in to the squad.”

Adi originally came to Portland in May 2014 as a Designated Player on loan from FC Copenhagen, scoring 9 goals and adding 4 assists in 24 games in his debut MLS season. Portland later completed the transfer and he then scored back-to-back 16-goal seasons in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, he registered his third-straight season with double-digit goals with 10, despite being sidelined the final two months of the year with injury.

This season, Adi has scored three goals and has added two assists in 14 MLS appearances (nine starts) and also saw time during Portland’s U.S. Open Cup run.

“We’re pleased to add Fanendo as our first MLS Designated Player,” said Cincinnati President & GM Jeff Berding. “He’s a tremendously talented player who is also a standout citizen in the community. The fact that he has agreed to join us is a clear demonstration of his passion for leadership and winning. He will immediately begin to create his new legacy with another very special fan base. We can’t wait to see him out on the field at Nippert Stadium.”

San Jose selected Alashe with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after a four-year career at Michigan State. The Northfield, Mich., native made 85 appearances with 69 starts over three-plus seasons for the Earthquakes, scoring five goals and adding three assists. In 2018, Alashe made 12 appearances – including two starts – in San Jose.

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