Skip to content

Andy Najar is gone: D.C. United sells Honduran international to Anderlecht

Jan 30, 2013, 5:46 PM EDT

Andy Najar;   Eric Avila ; Ashtone Morgan

First Shea. Then Kamara. Now Andy Najar appears to be leaving Major League Soccer. It’s a move that’s been churned by the mill all winter, but in the wake of two other name players leaving MLS before the season starts, Najar’s departure looks like part of a larger trend.

More on later. For now, let’s talk about the deal D.C. United just confirmed. The 19-year-old Honduran international moves to the biggest club in Belgium, Anderlecht, for a reported $3 million. That’s the same team that acquired Sacha Kljestan two-and-a-half years ago, albeit for $750,000.

“I would like to thank everyone connected to the club for everything that has been done to help me and my family since I joined the academy years ago,” Najar said via a release posted to the club’s website. “A special thanks to my coach Ben Olsen and all of his staff. I came to D.C. United and chose #14 because I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“It has been very rewarding to watch Andy grow and develop into becoming the special player that he is,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper said. “We wish Andy all of the success in the world and we look forward to watching his career blossom.”

Najar, who is part of the team that will face the U.S. when final round World Cup qualifying begins on Feb. 6, is a former MLS Rookie of the Year who made his debut in 2010. During his time in the league Najar’s been gradually shifted from right wing to right back, a position he held in Ben Olsen’s starting lineup as D.C. United finished second in the Eastern Conference.

In the playoffs, an aberrational mistake from Najar incurred a three-match suspension when he kicked a ball at referee Jair Marrufo during the first leg of United’s conference semifinal against the New York Red Bulls. That may be the last act of Najar’s Major League Soccer career.

“Andy is an extremely hard player to replace with our group but I’m excited for him and the opportunity he has in front of him,” Olsen said.

With their portion of the $3 million sale, D.C. will have a chance to go out and get a replacement, and while that player won’t have the emotional attachment to the D.C. faithful Najar developed after coming through as a 16-year-old Home Grown Player, United should have options. Even if they put their new money elsewhere, right backs being what they are, D.C. should be able to make up for Najar’s loss.

Ultimately, they (and the league) got a very good price. Very few right backs in world soccer go for large fees. That Najar is so talented at such a young age manes he’s one of the few a big club like Anderlecht would be willing to take a chance on. Given how few Major League Soccer players could ever hope for such a high evaluation, D.C.’s gets a minor windfall from the sale.

For now, Robbie Russell is Ben Olsen’s obvious replacement, but don’t be surprised if Olsen explores other options. Between Chris Korb on the left and the combination of Perry Kitchen (in 2011) and Najar on the right, D.C.’s head coach has preferred a different type of player at his fullback positions. Now 33 years old, Russell now projects to be as much as a center half as a fullback.

You want the best players possible at each position, but particularly in Major League Soccer, fullbacks are game defining players. In the bigger picture, there are very few Daniel Alves and Ashley Cole-caliber players in the world, and nobody’s projected Najar, talented though he might be, to get to that level.

He might prove worth a few million more one day, particularly if he comes good as a right winger, but if you’re D.C. and planning to keep Andy Najar at right back, you snatch Anderlecht’s $3 million, kiss the lad on the cheek, and tell him to enjoy Belgium.

Latest Posts
  1. Joe Hart’s Manchester City future in limbo, Liverpool may target the goalkeeper

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT

    Can England start to churn out talents such as Joe Hart from SGP on a regular basis? Getty Images

    Manchester City goalie Joe Hart confirmed that he hadn’t discussed a new contract with the club, and Liverpool is a prime candidate for his services, according to the Metro.

  2. Merseyside police to explore racist comments at Mario Balotelli

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT

    hi-res-133f09d31924ea9d682e1f1a8a3ffef1_crop_north Getty Images

    More racism was thrown at Mario Balotelli, but this time, it appears law enforcement will get involved.

  3. Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck brandish skills in 3-0 win over Aston Villa

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:09 PM EDT

    Mesut Özil returns for Arsenal as they attempt to reclaim the top of the Premier League table with a win over Stoke. AP

    Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck scored and assisted each other during the Gunners 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

  4. WATCH: Alessandro Florenzi embraces grandmother in stands after goal

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Unknown Getty Images

    Alessandro Florenzi hugged and kissed his grandmother in the Stade Olimpico stands following his goal in AS Roma’s 2-0 victory over Cagliari.

  5. Roberto Martinez on Crystal Palace loss: ‘We didn’t have that real drive about us’

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT

    Martinez AP

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez laments loss to Crystal Palace, saying that his squad lost its drive for victory.

  6. Daniel Sturridge reacts to Lampard’s equalizer against Chelsea

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT

    Lampard Getty Images

    One England international paid respects to another as a legend scored an emotional goal for his new team against his old.

  7. Emotional Lampard just as shocked after pegging back ex-club Chelsea (VIDEO)

    Sep 21, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    Lampard AP

    We didn’t see this coming, and neither did Frank Lampard.

  8. Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea: Frank Lampard shocks former club with late equalizer

    Sep 21, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Zabaleta AP

    Pablo Zabaleta’s second yellow card changed the game, but a former Chelsea legend came back to haunt them.

  9. Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace: Visitors overwhelm Goodson Park with deadly counters

    Sep 21, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

    PalaceEverton

    Everton started early and saw much of the ball but Crystal Palace got a few breaks and took advantage to pick up their first win of the season.

  10. Mario Balotelli mocks Manchester United on twitter

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT

    Balotelli AP

    Mario Balotelli put an LOL up on Twitter at Manchester United’s expense, and subjected himself to some horrible racial abuse.

  11. VIDEO: Angel Di Maria scores stunning chip for Manchester United

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT

    ManchesterUnited AP

    Despite heavy defeat, United’s new attacker scores goal of the season contender.

  12. Watch Live: Everton vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups)

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Everton Getty Images

    Everton has sewn the seeds for a good run of form and are hoping to build on recent success against a struggling Palace squad.

  13. Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Chelsea (Lineups)

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT

    Costa AP

    Diego Costa hsa been in fantastic form to begin his Premier League career, and has the chance to fire Chelsea five points clear at the top of the table.

  14. Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United: Foxes complete comeback for the ages

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

    LCFCvMUFC Getty Images

    Manchester United were left shell-shocked after blowing a 3-1 lead against Premier League minnows.

  15. Tottenham 0-1 West Brom: Baggies get off the bottom with deserved win

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

    WestBrom Getty Images

    Spurs offered little as James Morrison propelled West Brom off the bottom of the table.

  16. Leeds United makes move for manager Darko Milanic

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:33 AM EDT

    Milanic Getty Images

    Championship side Leeds is dipping into Eastern Europe to find their new manager.

  17. Goals flying as Manchester United lead Leicester City 2-1 before 20 minutes

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

    ManchesterUnited Getty Images

    King Power Stadium is bursting with attacking skill as three goals have come within the opening 20 minutes.

  18. Watch Live: Tottenham vs. West Brom (Lineups)

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:07 AM EDT

    Pochettino Getty Images

    Mauricio Pochettino has to navigate a pair of fixtures in four days thanks to the Europa League, and will look to avoid the first defeat to West Brom at White Hart Lane in 30 years.

  19. Watch Live: Leicester City vs. Manchester United (Lineups)

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

    Falcao Getty Images

    Radamel Falcao makes his first start for Manchester United who look to build on a strong win last weekend.

  20. Report: Manchester United target Strootman hires RVP’s agent to push move

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:25 AM EDT

    Strootman Getty Images

    Strootman has hired a man with a solid reputation to try and bring down Roma’s insane asking price.

Featured video

Week 5: Top five Premier League goals