So, the Cyle Larin saga is getting…interesting, let’s say. Social media went bonkers today when Besiktas’ official account tweeted out pictures of Larin in the club’s jersey and getting a physical. But both the Besiktas official Twitter and the team’s English-language Twitter stated that he was in negotiations, which was odd.
— Beşiktaş JK (@Besiktas) January 13, 2018
Obviously Orlando City felt it was odd as well, as the club came out with a strong statement in response, as first reported by Alicia DelGallo of ProSoccerUSA.com:
Orlando City SC is aware of the announcement made by Beşiktaş J.K. regarding forward Cyle Larin. The Club has not agreed to terms on a transfer of Larin and will take all necessary action against Beşiktaş in response to the announcement.
Larin remains under contract with Orlando City through 2019 and is expected to join his teammates at preseason camp later this month.
There’s no reason for fans to panic at this point, despite the fact that Turkish teams do not (apparently) think club options are a thing and have shown little respect for MLS teams in the past (see also: the Fabian Castillo saga upon exiting FC Dallas).
CLUB STATEMENT – There is no deal to transfer Fabian Castillo. We expect him to return to Dallas for training. pic.twitter.com/TG8cF9611J
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) August 1, 2016
In the past, teams have tried to take advantage of players claiming not to realize they were still under contract due to option years. Orlando City, however, had Larin sign a statement in 2017 that he understood he was under contract and acknowledged the option years were valid — as DelGallo also reported. As such, Orlando City has a lot more legal ground to stand on.
The entire situation has become awkward and the best-case scenario for everyone is for Besiktas to present an offer in the range that Lions management finds acceptable so they can complete the transfer and everyone can get on with their lives. The worst-case scenario is that this ends up in the courts and Larin doesn’t play for anyone for a while. As with most things, this will probably end up somewhere in the middle of those two outcomes.
Orlando City is still banking on getting two-thirds of the eventual transfer fee for Larin if/when he is sold. As Paul Tenorio stated in a live Periscope video, MLS feels the league can easily win in a court case involving option years.
Buckle up. This could get uglier before it’s resolved. Which…really…is too bad for everyone.
UPDATE 1/13/18, 10:33 p.m.
DelGallo updated her earlier report with the following:
Orlando City has hired attorney Marcos Motta, who handled Neymar transfer from Barcelona to PSG and Paolo Guerrero’s doping case.
That’s probably not a bad hire under the circumstances.