The Philadelphia Union has announced the signing of Adam Najem, the player who is perhaps the most highly-regarded of this year's crop of New York Red Bulls' Homegrown-eligible prospects.
Ives Galarcep had previously reported for Goal.com and Sporting News that RBNY and Najem had stalled in their efforts to reach an agreement on a contract for the coming season. Indeed, Galarcep had previously reported that the Red Bulls had traded Najem's rights to the Union.
Those reports all now appear validated: the Union has acquired the "first-refusal" rights to Najem from RBNY and the player will start the 2017 MLS season on Philadelphia's roster. In exchange, the Red Bulls get the Union's natural second round pick in the 2018 SuperDraft.
That isn't much, but Galarcep's reporting suggests the reason RBNY and Najem parted ways is because the club didn't value the player all that highly anyway. Per Galarcep, the Red Bulls offered Najem a league-minimum deal in 2015. That offer was refused, but Najem landed in 2016 looking for another shot at playing in MLS. RBNY made the same offer, Najem was no more interested than he had been last year: time for player and club to separate.
Najem did not enter this year's SuperDraft (RBNY held his MLS playing rights, which they just traded to Philadelphia), but was considered to have the potential to be a top-10 - even overall #1 - pick in the 2017 cohort of players emerging from college. He has long been thought of as one of the brighter prospects in RBNY's Academy pipeline. He will now seek to fulfill that promise as a Union player.