DC United acquiring Christian Benteke

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DC United has reached agreement to acquire Belgian national team striker Christian Benteke from Crystal Palace, adding a 10-year Premier League veteran as MLS’s transfer and trade window was closing and the London club was preparing to begin its season, four people familiar with the negotiations said Friday.

The deal was struck late Thursday, hours before the MLS deadline, and details were being finalized Friday, said two people, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the matter.

United officials declined to comment. Crystal Palace’s Premier League opener is Friday against London rivals Arsenal.

Benteke, 31, is United’s biggest prize in a summer blitz to revamp a last-place roster under new coach Wayne Rooney. Although his salary wasn’t disclosed, he’ll become the highest-paid player in club history, one person familiar with the terms said. He would surpass Rooney’s $3.5 million pact in 2019.

Wayne Rooney is a megastar. More importantly, he wants to coach.

Benteke will fill United’s third and final slot for high-end designated players. Because Benteke was under contract with Crystal Palace until June 2023, United is also presumably paying a transfer fee.

He will need a work visa before he can debut with United, a process that typically takes at least two weeks.

Since moving to England in 2012, Benteke has played for Aston Villa, Liverpool and, for the past six seasons, Crystal Palace. His best season with Palace was 2016-17, when he recorded 15 league goals.

He scored 10 in 2020-21 but only four in 11 starts (25 appearances) last season. All four came last fall.

With the Belgian national team, Benteke has posted 18 goals in 45 matches.

Benteke is United’s last acquisition during the summer transfer and trade window, joining striker Miguel Berry (Columbus Crew), goalkeeper David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), winger Martín Rodríguez (Altay, Turkey), attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison (Derby County, England) and defensive midfielder Victor Palsson (Schalke, Germany).

Ochoa and Palsson have yet to make their debuts.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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