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Report: D.C. United pursuing Emelec, Ecuador winger Joao Rojas

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If Paul Arriola leaves, is this the man to fill the spot?

FBL-SUDAMERICANA-EMELEC-TOLIMA Photo by RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP via Getty Images

According to Direct TV Ecuador’s Jose Carlos Crespo, D.C. United is interested in CS Emelec and Ecuador national team winger Joao Rojas. According to Crespo, United and an unnamed first division side from Switzerland have made offers for the 24-year-old Rojas, and according to a separate report from Adrian Guillen, the latter team is apparently in Ecuador to attempt to close the deal.

Rojas, who per Transfermarkt is in the final year of his contract with Emelec, scored 10 goals and assisted on 7 more in 28 games (23 starts) this season and has scored 22 across 116 total appearances in the five seasons he has been with El Bombillo. He also has appeared for the Ecuador national team, starting once in seven caps, the most recent being a four-minute substitute appearance in a November World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela. Rojas largely plays on the left wing, but can play on the right or centrally when called upon.

Assuming D.C.’s reported position of not moving Paul Arriola to FC Dallas (or elsewhere) remains intact until they can replace him with another Designated Player, combined with the “crunch time” remark B&RU reported yesterday, we may see movement on this, or some other option, within the next several days. Bids for Rojas — who should not be confused with the 32-year-old Joao Rojas, who also plays for Ecuador as a winger and just left Brazilian giants Sao Paulo as a free agent — appear to be in the range of $2.5 million, which would presumably put Rojas into the Designated Player category.

UPDATE (1/22): Friday afternoon Cesar Merlo reported that Rojas and D.C. were in advanced talks, but Friday night, Emelec posted the following statement, saying Rojas would remain with the team in 2022:

In addition, an unnamed Emelec representative suggested the offer be nearly doubled for conversations to even begin.

Rojas’ highlights: