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Reports: D.C. United interested in Levski Sofia forward Nigel Robertha

D.C.’s first big signing of the Hernán Losada era may be close

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EFBET Liga - Levski Sofia against Slavia Sofia Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An initial report from Bulgarian journalist Metodi Shumanov (confirmed stateside by Pablo Maurer) indicates that D.C. United is in pursuit of Nigel Robertha, a Dutch-born forward who plays for Levski Sofia and is eligible for the Curaçao national team. There is a slight difference between the two reports on their progress, with Maurer saying the talks are serious, while Shumanov claiming that Sofia has already accepted an offer in the neighborhood of $1.2 million and the deal should be made official in the coming days.

Robertha, who turned 23 last week, progressed through Dutch club Feyenoord’s academy before signing professionally with them in 2015. Robertha eventually moved to Dutch second division side Cambuur, scoring 12 goals in 42 games (started 23), and signed with Sofia in July 2019. He has played 33 games with Sofia (starting 30) and has 13 goals, including 2 in his 14 games in 2020-21 (all stats via Soccerway).

Robertha has been attached to several clubs this transfer window; within the last month, Dynamo Zagreb had reportedly agreed to terms with Robertha in January, and Allsvenskan side Malmo was linked as a potential suitor two weeks ago.

While Robertha does not appear to fall under the U-22 initiative that MLS and its Players’ Association agreed to in the most recent CBA, his age appears to qualify him as a Young Designated Player according to the most recent roster rules and regulations. D.C. currently has two DPs in Edison Flores and Paul Arriola, but with Arriola currently on loan at Swansea City, D.C. does get roster relief, so Robertha could assume a DP position in the interim.