D.C. United has made its first major move of 2020, signing Peruvian international Edison Flores from Morelia. The transfer fee to acquire Flores was not officially confirmed by United, but the Washington Post’s Steve Goff has reported a figure over $5 million, obliterating United’s previous record (believed to be around $3 million for Paul Arriola). Flores will occupy a Designated Player spot, due to both the size of the transfer fee and a salary that The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer is reporting will be around $2 million per year.
Maurer is also reporting that Flores’ contract runs for five seasons, an unusually long commitment from United (or any MLS team). Full terms of the deal, including whether or not those years are club-held options, were not announced.
The 25-year-old Peru international has spent most of his career on the left wing, but a successful move into the middle this past Apertura season points to his future role with United. Flores spent 2019 in great form, scoring a combined 9 goals in the 2019 Clausura and 2019 Apertura for Morelia. In their run to the most recent Liguilla semi-final, Flores scored 3 goals in 4 games. For Peru, he scored twice in this past summer’s Copa America as las Incas made it to the final, and also converted the game-winning penalty in their quarterfinal against Uruguay.
United entered the offseason in a position where major moves were a requirement. The departures of Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta, and Lucas Rodriguez left an already goal-shy Black-and-Red side needing to replace a combined 23 goals and 13 assists in 2019. Meanwhile, several competitors in the Eastern Conference have already made multi-million dollar acquisitions.
While late-season acquisition Ola Kamara is expected to make up some of that production, further attacking additions are expected. United can sign two more DPs if they so choose, and have been repeatedly linked with another multi-million dollar move for Uruguayan winger Brian Lozano (currently with Santos Laguna of Liga MX). There are also rumors pointing towards D.C. adding Venezuelan striker Gelmin Rivas and Ecuadoran midfielder Cristian Aleman.