The race to sign D.C. United captain Paul Arriola heated up on Wednesday when MLS reporter Tom Bogert reported a couple of MLS clubs have made record-setting trade offers for the 26-year-old winger.
FC Dallas and expansion club Charlotte FC have reportedly offered trades that include $2 million in general allocation money, a mark that would exceed the record set when the New York Red Bulls sent $1.2 million upfront to Inter Miami on Dec. 12.
The news comes as Liga MX's Club America reportedly was close to reaching a deal with D.C. United to acquire Arriola's services on Tuesday. Arriola began his professional career in Mexico's top division with Tijuana, where he scored nine goals and recorded three assists in 108 appearances in four seasons.
D.C. United then paid the LA Galaxy - where Arriola began as an academy player - a then-club record fee of $3 million in 2017 to provide a boost to their midfield ranks. Currently a regular contributor for the U.S. men's national team under manager Greg Berhalter, Arriola would be a big loss for manager Hernán Losada in his second offseason with the club.
Arriola has 20 goals and 16 assists in 89 appearances for the Black-and-Reds since joining in 2017. The club's most valuable player during the Wayne Rooney experience under former manager Ben Olsen hasn't had fortune on his side the last couple of seasons, however.
After partially tearing his ACL in a preseason game on Feb. 15, 2020, Arriola missed the entire 2020 campaign. D.C. United then showed good faith in Arriola's recovery via a contract extension with the club in July 2020 in a deal that went through the 2023 season and included a player option for the 2024 season.
Arriola was again limited last season due to a quad injury he picked up while on loan with Championship side Swansea, a stint that ended early as a result. Arriola scored six goals and added four assists in just 20 games overall in 2021 as the Black-and-Reds missed the postseason by a single point.
D.C. United reportedly wants to line up a designated player to replace Arriola before finalizing any deals, the Washington Post's Steven Goff reported.
The Black-and-Reds were without their two designated players, Arriola and Edison Flores, for most of the 2021 season. Nagging muscle injuries prevented Flores - the club's $5 million record signing - from reaching any consistency. The 27-year-old Peruvian has scored twice and has produced eight assists in 29 appearances for the club.
Moving on from Arriola and, as Goff points out potentially Flores too, could signal a sizable shift in Losada's offseason plans to overhaul his roster.