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MLS nixed $13 million Jesus Ferreira transfer talks with Spartak Moscow: Sources

Major League Soccer club FC Dallas received a $13 million bid for USMNT forward Jesus Ferreira from Russian club Spartak Moscow that would have been accepted, but the league has stepped in and told all parties that the potential deal will not move forward, sources briefed on the situation tell The Athletic.

Ferreira wanted to make the move and was in negotiations with Spartak over personal terms when MLS communicated its decision to Dallas and Ferreira. The reasoning delivered to the club and player was that there are risks for American business entities doing business with Russian entities.

MLS has the authority to nix the transfer because, as a single-entity league, all paperwork and transfers go through the MLS office.

FC Dallas declined to comment. MLS did not immediately provide comment.

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Since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, sporting entities worldwide have largely severed ties with the country. This includes FIFA, soccer’s worldwide governing body, and UEFA, the sport’s European authority, both of which suspended Russia from international competition “until further notice” in 2022. In October of last year, FIFA and UEFA announced that Russia’s U-17 boys and girls national teams could again participate in competitions. In the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation said in 2022 that it would not play games against Russia. Among U.S. pro leagues, the NHL suspended all business relationships and sponsorships with Russian companies soon after the invasion.

Spartak itself suffered from financial problems in the wake of the invasion, and in August of 2022 100% of the club and its stadium was sold to Russian oil firm Lukoil, whose co-founder Leonid Fedun previously owned the club.

This isn’t the first time MLS has canceled a potential outgoing transfer to Russia since the country’s invasion of Ukraine. In 2022, MLS stepped in to halt a potential $5 million deal between the New York Red Bulls and Lokomotiv Moscow for Cristian Casseres Jr. The midfielder was eventually transferred to Toulouse in France last summer in a deal that could be worth north of $1 million if all performance-based incentives are hit.

Ferreira, 23, has accrued 157 first-team appearances with Dallas after graduating from the club’s highly-rated academy. He has 50 goals and 28 assists in MLS, including 32 goals and 13 assists over the last two years. He has 15 goals in 23 caps with the USMNT, and saw time with the U.S. at the 2022 World Cup.

There has been interest abroad in Ferreira, both in Europe and Mexico, but the offer from Spartak Moscow satisfied all parties, sources say.

A $13 million deal would have been one of the most expensive outbound transfers in MLS history, but it wouldn’t have set a new record for Dallas. Ricardo Pepi went to Augsburg for $18 million plus $2 million in add-ons in 2022. Dallas has also completed lucrative deals for academy products Bryan Reynolds (to Roma), Reggie Cannon (to Boavista) and Tanner Tessmann (to Venezia) in recent years under technical director Andre Zanotta.


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