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Report: LAFC agree deal to sign Benfica MF Horta (finally)

Benfica v Setubal: Primeira Liga

LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 21: Benfica’s Portuguese midfielder Andre Horta during the match between SL Benfica and Vitoria Setubal FC for the Portuguese Primeira Liga at Estadio da Luz on August 21, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

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Andre Horta-to-Los Angeles FC is the transfer saga that’s dragged on all winter and spring long, but it’s reportedly set to reach the end of its painful, natural life, according to reports from Kristian Dyer and ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

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The MLS expansion side has reportedly landed its (new) main midfield man after weeks and months of agonizing over the details and negotiations — between not just two, but three, clubs.

A quick refresher/introductory course: Horta, Benfica’s 21-year-old Portuguese playmaking midfielder is currently on loan to fellow Portuguese first-division side Braga; Braga really like Horta being a Braga player, because he’s an above-average player; Braga have Horta’s services locked up through the end of the current season; Braga would not like to lose a key player three-quarters of the way through the season, when they’re unable to sign a replacement; Benfica have the opportunity to cash in on Horta, now, but said loan agreement with Braga poses a problem; Braga have been unwilling to roll over and play dead for the benefit of Benfica and LAFC.

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Unfortunately for LAFC, this means Horta won’t be able to arrive in MLS until the summer transfer window. Braga could still, of course, release Horta from his loan (prior to MLS’s primary transfer deadline on May 1) at which point he could move immediately. According to Carlisle’s source, though, “the chances of this [are] slim.”

LAFC will reportedly pay Benfica $7 million to acquire the former starlet.

As for how Horta will fit into Bob Bradley’s plans once he lands in LA, the answer is far from obvious: Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela have been dynamite in LAFC’s first two games; meanwhile, the most obvious point of weakness lies deeper in midfield, where no true ball-winning, destroyer-type exists; Horta’s talent is obvious and will undoubtedly shine through, but the bigger in-season signing would almost certainly be a no. 6 to bring a bit of balance to LAFC’s midfield.

Follow @AndyEdMLS