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.