D.C. United announced today that Chris Durkin would be loaned to Sint-Truidense VV in Belgium’s First Division. News of the deal was first reported by Steven Goff of the Washington Post. The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer mentioned that Sint-Truiden had been watching the 19 year old for several months, and are paying approximately $250,000 for the loan fee with a $2.25 million option to buy, with D.C. holding a 20% sell-on clause.
Durkin had attracted European interest before: Benfica offered close to $1 million and German side Hannover had turned down D.C.’s request of $1.5 to $2 million, which Goff reported in November 2018. Maurer reported in April that Bayer Leverkusen expressed interest, with a $150,000 loan fee and a buy option between $2-3 million. This was before the FIFA U-20 World Cup, where Durkin’s performance did not elevate his value despite the United States reaching the quarterfinal round.
The motivation behind the move seems to be for Durkin to get minutes. Recent injuries to him and Russell Canouse prompted the club to acquire Felipe Martins from the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the month. Moreover, the contracts of Martins, Canouse and Junior Moreno (all apparently ahead of Durkin on the depth chart) are believed to run through the 2020 season, Durkin’s deal initially expired midway through 2020, but the team extended his contract through the 2022 season. Durkin had been making $95,000 in base salary, but his salary did not count towards the cap due to his status as a homegrown player. Durkin becomes the second United homegrown to join the Belgian League; Andy Najar was transferred to RSC Anderlecht in 2013 and has remained there since.
Should STVV pursue the buy option on the deal, D.C. would retain 100% of the revenue from the sale, as is the case for homegrown transfers out of league. What this means for D.C. is additional negotiating leverage when working on signing players like Moses Nyeman (who has engaged in talks with D.C.), Jacob Greene, or Jeremy Garay to name a few.
In the meantime, succes Chris!