The potential transfer of FC Dallas star Fabián Castillo to Trabzonspor is dead. But the strange saga that began when the Colombian player failed to show up for training on July 22 seems far from over.
Although FCD confirmed Monday afternoon that there will be no deal with the Turkish club, there’s still the not-so-insignificant matter of Castillo’s whereabouts, whether he’s interested in returning and the sort of welcome he might receive from his teammates and coach Oscar Pareja.
Castillo missed the July 23 game against the Colorado Rapids and traveled to Trabzon without permission, a source told SI.com. Photos popped up that showed Castillo at the airport, taking a physical and posing with club officials while wearing a jersey and signing a contract—all of which took place before Dallas agreed to a transfer.
Once Castillo’s interest in leaving was clear, Dallas was willing to negotiate. A transfer free of around $4 million was agreed upon, but there was some concern about whether Trabzonspor could pay the entire sum. So a compromise was reached. The Turkish team would pay $2 million up front and bring Castillo, 24, over until January. At that time, either the remaining $2 million would be paid or Castillo would return to Dallas. But when additional concerns arose, Dallas reverted to the original plan—$4 million, take it or leave it. When the money still hadn’t arrived this past weekend, FCD pulled the plug.
After Dallas defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, extending its lead in the Supporters' Shield race to six points, Pareja told reporters, “I expect to have Fabian back and into our training. That's what we want. He's very welcomed and very loved here in this community and this team. We always want the best for Fabian, always the best for him.”
Pareja brought Castillo from Colombia to Dallas in 2011 and even let the player live in his house at first. Last year, Castillo was capped by Colombia and helped lead FCD to the Western Conference finals. Before the 2016 season, he signed a new, five-year deal that is paying him around $700,000 this year.
“You know that I love him like my son, and I will do everything that's possible to keep helping him to be the player that he wants to be,” Pareja said. “Fabian should be back, and we will wait. But first—team. The team is first and that is my priority.”
Castillo’s priorities are unclear. His agent, Raul Ramirez, tweeted Monday that he was in New York City “confirming” Castillo’s transfer with MLS officials.
It’s unclear if any meeting took place. FCD is moving on. It kicks off its CONCACAF Champions League campaign on Thursday against Real Estelí and then visits the LA Galaxy next week for a U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
Castillo has been told to report, but as of Monday evening, his intentions and the story’s ending were unknown.