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Cooper stays, Toja waits
by Ridge Mahoney, July 30th, 2008 7:01AM
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TAGS:  mls


[MLS] FC Dallas has responded to one vexing question by deciding not to sell forward Kenny Cooper and as of Tuesday night had not come to any conclusion regarding midfielder Juan Toja.

In a statement, team president and general manager Michael Hitchcock said, "Romanian club FC Steaua Bucuresti has made an offer for FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja. We are currently negotiating a possible transfer fee, and hope to have a decision soon."

According to a source, Steaua made an original offer of $600,000 last week. Along with his ambition to play in Europe, Toja is anxious to leave partially because he apparently believed he'd be offered a new deal once MLS had bought his rights. He left Argentine powerhouse River Plate and played in MLS on loan from Sante Fe last year. A source said MLS paid $400,000 to buy rights to Toja, whose 2008 contract is worth $150,000.

FCD officials decided not to sell Cooper to either Welsh club Cardiff City, which had raised its bid to $4 million, or Norwegian club Rosenborg, whose bid of $3 million had been increased by conditions and clauses. Cooper and his father, Ken Sr., had asked permission to fly to Rosenborg this week to meet with club officials and tour the facilities and, if necessary, negotiate personal terms, but that request was turned down.

In regards to Cooper, FCD issued this statement Tuesday: "We received offers from multiple international clubs for Kenny Cooper during this transfer window, but we elected to decline them all. The international interest is a credit to Kenny, FC Dallas and the ever increasing talent level in Major League Soccer.

"Winning championships is our priority, and we feel strongly that Kenny will continue to be an important part of our success as we compete for the MLS Cup this year and in the future."

Cooper's salary is $80,000, quite a cut from the reported $300,000 he earned at Manchester United from 2004 to 2006, and his contract expires next year. He scored two goals in two minutes as FCD demolished Los Angles, 4-0, on Sunday in one of the team's best performances in the past few years and its first win under Coach Schellas Hyndman, who replaced the fired Steve Morrow last month.

A contract worth approximately $415,000 per season, about as much as a team can pay for a non-Designated Player not named Landon Donovan or Eddie Johnson or Carlos Ruiz or Duilio Davino, has been offered by MLS. That's a good deal for a young American player by MLS standards, yet Rosenborg's offer included a salary of more than $1 million.

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