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The SBI View: D.C. United wronged Acosta by not agreeing to PSG deal


The most stunning rumor involving a Major League Soccer player over the last week didn’t turn into a deal.

After spending Thursday in Europe trying to negotiate a deal with Paris Saint-Germain, D.C. United couldn’t strike a transfer for Luciano Acosta.

We won’t see how the failed negotiations affect the Black and Red on the field until March 3, but there’s no doubt the club wronged the 24-year-old Argentinian by not securing a deal to the Ligue 1 giants.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime for Acosta, who rose to prominence in MLS in 2018 with help from the addition of Wayne Rooney to the D.C. United roster.

Acosta wasn’t the first player to come to mind in the big-money transfer discussion that was dominated by Miguel Almiron and Atlanta United for most of the offseason, but he emerged as an intriguing figure on Wednesday night.

But instead of donning the jersey of one of the most famous clubs in the world, Acosta has to hop on a plane back to the United States and continue preseason preparations with D.C. with questions looming if he’ll ever get a chance to make a move like this ever again.

Let’s make this very clear: Acosta is a fine player, but there’s no guarantee PSG, or any major club in Europe for that matter, will come back around in the summer and offer a similar deal near eight figures.

PSG had an immediate attacking need to fill with Neymar out injured and Acosta was a cheaper option in terms of the European transfer market to fill that void.

The fact that we’ve reached the point in MLS in which D.C. United is commanding eight figures for a player is astonishing in its own right, but to turn down an offer in that range from PSG is downright ludicrous.

D.C. should’ve sold Acosta while his value was highest, and after getting the player’s hopes up, he has to return to camp knowing that a deal like this might not come to fruition ever again.

Acosta could make his way to Europe in the future, but PSG came along at the right time looking to fill a void during a January transfer window in which the big European clubs usually make panic buys to reinforce their respective clubs.

When the summer window opens, PSG has more freedom to sign bigger players and acclimate them to the squad during a lengthy preseason tour.

From D.C.’s perspective, there’s no guarantee the player who recorded 10 goals and 17 assists in 2018 will replicate his numbers, especially since he totaled a combined eight goals and 16 assists in his first two seasons in MLS.

The Black and Red are taking a massive risk that Acosta replicates his form from 2018 and that the transfer market for high-profile MLS players continues to rise.

While it’s promising that players like Almiron, Alphonso Davies and Tyler Adams have been sold in the last 12 months, it’s still a small sample size.

MLS still carries a bit of negative stigma in Europe, although it diminishes by the year, and there’s no guarantee Acosta’s valuation will rise in the eyes of European clubs between now and the summer, or in a year from now.

By failing to get a deal done, D.C. risks dealing with an unhappy player, who was in need of a raise in the first place, and losing a potential investment that could’ve helped the franchise for years to come.


  1. “there’s no guarantee the player who recorded 10 goals and 17 assists in 2018 will replicate his numbers, especially since he totaled a combined eight goals and 16 assists in his first two seasons in MLS.”

    of course there’s no guarantee, but for anyone who watched the games (or just took more than 10 seconds looking at the stats), it’s clear to see that his improvement in 2018 was because he was no longer the only good player in the team. asad helped, but once rooney came in, teams couldn’t just double-team acosta anymore.

  2. Joe Tansey does not what the hell he’s talking about.. He’s not reporting the news , the A.H. its just creating it.

    • I can see both sides here. DC wants maximum value for their asset and had a strong negotiating position vs one of the richest clubs in the world. They have the money, needed the player and time was short.
      From the human point of view I feel bad for Acosta. He had the opportunity of a lifetime staring him in the face. His employer was going to make a huge profit off of him even if they took less than what they believed they could get and still held on to him. If I were him I would be pissed too. Opportunities like that don’t come calling every day.

  3. Way I here it, Tuchel didn’t know about the deal and dissented. Besides, PSG waited till the very last second to get a process done that should have taken most of a week. DC were asking for 13 million, which, given the Almiron transfer, is perfectly acceptable. 2 million is pocket change to PSG, so this is entirely in their orbit.

  4. Well, I thought it was a stupid business decision by D.C. United. I thought they were asking way more than he is worth. He is a very good MLS player, but I don’t think he is worth anything like DC was asking. They could have taken the money and gone out and bought two or three good young South American players and probably strengthened the team in the long run. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think his value is going to rise above what PSG was willing to pay.

  5. Give me a break. Why didn’t PSG sign him? If they wanted him, why didn’t they sign him? DC did. Now he will play for DC.

    Just because most of the world is a farm club for the big teams, doesn’t mean MLS will be.
    The difference is DC is trying to win a championship. Almost all the rest of the world is not.

    MLS teams aren’t farm clubs. Look at the $15 million deal for Almiron. You can’t? Yeah, because Atlanta said no way…and got $27 million.

    Hey PSG, you are about a billion times more resources than DC, how about figuring out that Acosta can play BEFORE someone else signs him? So we don’t have to listen to a fan boy whine because DC signed a great player.

    • If all the little whiners wen back in history and looked at all of the deals MLS has “screwed up”, they will find that 9 out of then times they have gotten it mostly right. Whiners, and the clueless gotta whine however. Like I said before….no different in the office. People who can do, people who can’t whine about those who can. Will never ever change, no matter what rules folks try to force on society.

  6. Couldn’t disagree more. If players are good enough teams will keep coming back to ask for them (i.e., Pulisic). Transfers to bigger clubs do not always work out (i.e., Shea, Agudelo, etc.).

    • Yup…two sides to every situation. Good and bad to both. Always fun to see the one dimensionals post as if they were “smart’ or “get it”. Nothing “mysterious” about it.

    • That’s kind of the point though. Acosta may not be worth it and there’s a good chance another PSG-level club will never come calling.
      Acosta is in the last year of his contract and if he’s upset enough DC United may not be able to extend him no matter how much they offer. If Acosta doesn’t sign an extension, then he leaves on a free transfer next winter and United gets nothing.
      United should have sold him. They spent about $1.5 million on his transfer and have spent $1-1.5 million total on his salary (2 years at $500,000, plus whatever they paid him when he was on loan). $11 million was a ridiculously good deal for DC United.

    • OK. Then their shouldn’t be guaranteed contracts either. Works both ways…..but you don’t want that do you? It should only work one way in your mind….right? I agree with you only if a player who underperforms, and is paid to much can be cut. All players should simply be on one year contracts, or none at all. OK. I can smell your one dimensional bias from a mile away. It’s fair my way…but not the other.

      • The player is already slaving away putting their body at risk. Your way is not fair. Be fair to the players they are the ones bringing in fans.

  7. Couldn’t disagree anymore, seems like a biased article trying to paint DCU the villians. The failure of this transfer lies solely on PSG, they went from 10 mil to 7 mil and were likely hoping Acosta would throw a fit and force the transfer given PSG’s stature and it being a lifetime opportunity. Good for DCU and MLS for balking, don’t get me wrong I feel bad for Acosta but it was a cheap/classless move by PSG.

  8. Welcome to the real world Joe. This happens all of the time……everywhere. Yoy can always see who understands how the world works, and who lives in “the world should be like this kumbaya” world. The US, with people living so safe and well, is filled with the “kumbaya” types. These people get stomped when faced with reality … ie… Gulati facing the con man shark Klinnsman….but in the comfort of their isloated classrooms and couches they just know better. It’s why these people get pummeleded in the real world, and can’t cope. Let’s be clear, not trying to be condescending. Just reality. After 40 years in the real world, in high stakes business, and after managing hundreds it’s so apparent who gets it….and who classroom’s it. The classroom people can be just as dangerous as the greedy CEO. Fanatsies are just as destructive.

    Tough break for Acosta, but he needs to be an adult and buck up. If not he will only hurt himself in the long run, and folks will cry and blame evil MLS/DC (yawn). It happened to me when younger, but I just kept performing, and when you keep performing the high end rewards will come.

    But, but, but….it’s not fair….waaahhhhh!

  9. He would have been a panic buy who would have been shipped off the moment anyone else was healthy. Stupid move for him as a player, worse for DC. He stays, gets paid, and if a realistic offer comes in moves after the season. Dumbest of hot takes here.

  10. PSG can pay $200 million for players and they cant put in an extra $5 million in an emergency?

    MLS was smart. If this guy was an emergency for “Neymar” then Acosta is worth the $13-15 million asking price, not $6 – 8 million range of PSG.

    • Agree 100%. If Almiron is worth 27 Million USD, then Acosta is at the very least, worth half of that. $10 million is a bargain considering PSG paid $200+ million for Neymar, and they weren’t willing to come to terms with another million? Who is the one low balling?

  11. It’s tough not getting a dream transfer, but January transfers are also tough for the player to make that late transition, without that pre-season training camp.

  12. Eh.

    PSG came in figuring “why not” if they could get him for a shout. They were looking for little commitment/bargain basement as insurance. Flattering for sure to get PSG’s attention, but let’s be honest- their roster and that tepid interest didn’t bode so well for Acosta’s role. Disappointing but… Acosta is probably better off and would be better served going to a team that was interested more than filling a spot deep on the bench.

  13. DC made a business decision. They thought PSG low balled them and they balked. Acosta plays like he did this season, he will get even more lucrative offers during the summer or winter

    • Except his contract is up next winter, and as this article says, in the summer transfer window European teams are less likely to panic buy an MLS player with one good season.


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