A report in Israel (h/t Daniel Karell) says that D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum is in advanced negotiations with Israel club Maccabi Tel Aviv. The article goes on to say that Birnbaum was previously in discussions with Maccabi Haifa but that Tel Aviv has jumped into the discussions. That brings us up to four European clubs linked to Birnbaum by name, as previous reports linked him to Borussia Dortmund and Dutch side Feyenoord. The 25-year old defender, who has yet to appear in the Copa America tournament for the United States, has appeared in World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year for the Yanks.
Maccabi Tel Aviv finished second in the 2015-16 Israel League campaign after winning the two previous championships. The winner of the Premier League is placed into the second round of qualifying for the Champions League, while second and third place are placed into the second round of Europa League play. Birnbaum would technically count as an Israeli player and not count against the international player limit for the squad if he were to sign.
With the secondary MLS transfer window opening on July 4, there could be a lot of moving parts related to this rumor. Should Birnbaum be sold before the year is out, Kofi Opare would step in as a starter. However, that would leave United with Jalen Robinson as their only natural center back depth. Sean Franklin, as a rookie almost a decade ago, has some experience in the middle as well. Most likely, though, Birnbaum heading to Europe would mean another move to bolster the Black-and-Red's depth.