Andy Najar loaned to Anderlecht through January

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Penalty Kicks,Sports,Craig Stouffer

It was hinted last month that Andy Najar’s training stint with RSC Anderlecht was supposed to be much more, and that the Belgian champions were very interested in it being much more.

That’s turned out to be the case, as Najar is in Turkey at the team’s winter training camp, first confirmed to The Examiner by a spokesman from the club – and in a photo on the team website, which has since been commandeered by D.C. United in its announcement that Najar is on loan for the rest of January. He had returned home to Washington after his two weeks of training in December.

That makes Najar a teammate, for the time being, with American midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who is in his third season with the Belgian club.

Where it goes from here, of course, could be tricky. Najar wants to be in Europe. That’s not a secret, and D.C. United has always, on some level, intended to send the 19-year-old homegrown Honduran product there for a generous transfer fee.

The problem is that Najar was a revelation in his shift to right back last season, and United would very much like to begin the 2013 season with him back in the same position. Remember that despite United’s playoff success back in November, they hardly looked like a dangerous team going forward once Najar was suspended for throwing a ball at a referee. There’s also the chance that despite Najar’s upside in that defensive position, his natural position is still on the wing.

It’s clear now that Anderlecht’s interest in Najar is genuine. Taking the next step, if it wants to secure a transfer, requires negotiations with MLS, which is notoriously stingy.

As for D.C. United, if Najar leaves, the onus increases on general manager Dave Kasper and coach Ben Olsen to find attacking reinforcements for a team that already lost Branko Boskovic, Maicon Santos and Josh Wolff. It is worth pointing out that Hamdi Salihi is currently still on the roster.

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner