The UnionDues is reporting that a source close to the situation told the site that Philadelphia Union midfielder Roger Torres has bought out the remainder of his contract with Colombian club America de Cali. Speculation on the move is that that either the Union are set to sign the 20-year-old to a contract, or a European club may swoop in and take the talented Colombian off to another continent.
While plausible, as UnionDues states within the report, it's not likely that Torres bought out his contract himself, based upon MLS contractual rules. All loaned players to MLS teams have purchase options built into their loan deals because of MLS rules on loans. The Union would have the first shot at buying Torres' contractual rights at any point during his time with the team, which was extended to the end of this season after the loan was renewed during the 2010 MLS offseason.
If Torres does indeed have a buyout clause in his contract with Cali, one that he signed just over two years ago (July 16, 2009), then there's no reason for him to have paid it himself in this situation. At the end of the 2011 season, Torres will only have made around $204,725 since joining the Union. With the team's sponsorship deals and game-related revenues, the Union can easily afford Torres' potentially less than $200,000 cost, which is most likely much lower than former Union center defender Michael Orozco Fiscal's transfer price.
The timing of the buyout also creates a particularly unlikely scenario. As UnionDues points out, "Why now, between windows?"
A buyout clause would have allowed the Union to buy Torres at any point. Two windows passed, the roster freeze passed and the playoffs are about to come around. The timing is odd, to say the least, if true.
Supposing that there may not be a buyout clause at all, from January through August, the Union held all the leverage in negotiations with Cali over transferring Torres. The young playmaker had not played much in the US and had a lowered value than when he joined the Union, after starting 15 games for Cali in 2009-2010. Torres has started five games since the end of August and was subbed into two other games, scoring one goal and assisting on two more.
In the end we will see a team buy Torres at the end of this season, be it the Union or a team outside of MLS. The Union are all but certain to protect the member of MLS' 24-under-24 list in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft, unless the team does not choose to purchase his rights.