The winter transfer window closed on Thursday across much of Europe, and one deal for an MLS star was finalized and another collapsed.
As expected, the transfer of Miguel Almiron from
Atlanta United to Newcastle United for an MLS (and Newcastle) record transfer fee of about $26 million was completed. With anticipation that the deal would go through, Almiron flew to England on
Tuesday and the agreement was announced after he passed a physical exam.
A deal for Argentine Luciano Acosta
-- best known as Wayne Rooney
's new partner in D.C. United's
exciting run to the 2018 playoffs -- to join French champion Paris St. Germain came together at the last minute but ultimately collapsed.
Acosta's agent, Mattias Sabbag
reportedly seeking a French club for Acosta, but out of nowhere PSG showed interest after it lost Brazilian star Neymar
, out 10 weeks with a foot injury. Acosta flew from D.C. United's
preseason camp in Florida to Paris on Thursday morning.
Various versions of what went down have been offered: Washington Post
: United, which had
previously turned down an offer of $7.5 million from Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal, Sebastian Giovinco
's new club, was prepared to take around $10 million, but sources told the Post it balked when
PSG's final offer came in at $8 million -- and proposed pay conditional performance bonuses taking it to upwards of the $10 million target. The Athletic
: Sources told The Athletic PSG offered about $9.1 million but United wanted in the neighborhood of $13 million-$15 million. L'Equipe
: The basics of the deal were PSG would pay D.C. United a minimum of 6
million euros ($7 million) but performance bonuses would take it up to 9 million euros ($10 million). PSG threw in the towel when it couldn't agree to United's demands for its sell-on percentage. L'Equipe du Soir
: The deal fell apart not necessarily over the transfer fee but over the fact D.C. United wanted
PSG to pay Boca Juniors, Acosta's former club, its 10 percent sell-on fee and a Geneva-based agency Sabbaq brought in to help find a French club for Acosta needed to be compensated.
French media played up the narrative of an on-going feud between PSG coach Thomas Tuchel
and the club's sporting director, Antero Henrique
, and suggested that Tuchel vetoed the deal
Henrique arranged with Sabbaq, whose client Leandro Paredes
, had just signed with PSG, and the first-year German coach prefers to bring back French international Adrien Rabiot
Henrique banished from the first team just before Christmas for failing to agree to a contract extension before his contract expires at the end of June.
D.C. United could find itself in
the same situation with Acosta -- the 24-year-old midfielder's contract expires after the 2019 season.