Update: According to Jordan Culver from ProSoccerUSA.com, Orlando City has “no intention” of losing Yotún. Yoshi is under contract until the end of 2019, and the Lions plan on keeping him. The two sides are currently working on a contract extension.
If reports out of Mexico are to be believed, Orlando City could be on the verge of losing one of its most important players to Liga MX. Multiple reports emerged on Tuesday via Mexican and Peruvian media indicating that midfielder Yoshimar Yotún is close to joining Liga MX giants Cruz Azul, which would represent a big loss for the Lions in midfield.
According to Mexican website Record, Cruz Azul and Orlando City have already agreed on a transfer fee and all that is left are negotiations between the Liga MX club and the player. According to Record’s Carlos Ponce de León, Orlando City granted Cruz Azul permission to communicate with Yoshi.
El otro extranjero que está por caer es el peruano:
YOSHIMAR YOTÚN, mundialista, procedente del Orlando City.
La negociacion empezó desde antes de la Liguilla, Peláez lo buscó insistentemente y la nueva gerencia del club de la MLS recién dio el sí definitivo.
— Carlos Ponce de León (@Carlos_Ponz) December 18, 2018
Would this deal make sense for the Lions? Yotún was the fifth-highest-paid player on the Orlando roster in 2018 at nearly $550,000. The Lions, who have been working to clear cap space this off-season, would get his salary off the books and also receive a transfer fee to help rebuild the squad in the rumored deal.
From an on-field perspective, the Lions would be taking a significant hit if Yoshi were to depart. Yotún played in 32 matches over the last two seasons for OCSC after joining in August of 2017 from Swedish side Malmo FF. He has scored five goals and notched 14 assists in that span, providing consistent quality among an otherwise lowly team.
Cruz Azul, which lost to Club América last weekend at the Liga MX Apertura finals, is currently linked with several players, including midfielder Oberlín Pineda from Chivas Guadalajara in a transfer confirmed by the club, and forward Jonathan Rodríguez of Santos Laguna.
This is one to monitor closely.