TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Loan
New York City FC have loaned forward Alexandru Mitrita to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli Saudi FC until Jan. 31, 2022, the club announced Thursday morning. The deal still requires a completed medical, and Al-Ahli can purchase the 25-year-old outright at the end of the loan.
Mitrita is currently with Romania for international team duty, and the move brings him closer to his wife. She’s expecting their first child and returned to Romania earlier this year.
“Due to Mitri’s personal circumstances during this pandemic, we felt it was the best move for all parties at this time to loan him to Al-Ahli,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in a club release. “He’s certainly a player we believe in and has helped us win football matches in the past 18 months. We do not know how long these travel restrictions will last, so from a human perspective, we wanted to respect his wishes to be closer to his family.”
The loan opens up an international roster spot and DP slot for NYCFC, with the MLS Secondary Transfer Window set to run through Oct. 29. Mitrita’s absence will certainly be felt, with DP midfielder Maxi Moralez recovering from a knee injury and star forward Heber out for the year with a torn ACL.
Mitrita originally joined NYCFC in February 2019 from Romanian club Universitatea Craiova via a reported $8.5 million transfer fee. He’s notched 16 goals and five assists in 41 games since coming to MLS, though was suffering a dry spell this season before a pair of two-goal showings in recent weeks.
“It has been a very challenging time for me and my family,” Mitrita said in a release. “My wife and I are expecting the birth of our first child in the coming weeks and she was not able to be with me in New York. I want to sincerely thank the club for allowing me the opportunity to play football and be with my family. From day one the support from our fans has been excellent and I want to send love to all of the supporters. I wish the club and my teammates all the best for the rest of the season.”
NYCFC are in their first year under head coach Ronny Deila and currently occupy fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve won three straight and will return to action Sunday when hosting the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium (4:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada).
This is the second major transfer of an MLS player to Saudi Arabia this window, with Atlanta United selling Pity Martinez to Al-Nassr FC in early September. Mitrita is slated to play with former Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco at Al-Ahli.
“This loan allows Mitrita to continue playing competitive football while also attending to family matters, which we know are a priority for him,” Lee said in a release. “We are extremely confident in the roster of players we have and are on a fantastic run of form at the moment. Our aim as always will be to challenge for the MLS Cup and we certainly believe we have a group of players and a coaching staff that can do this."