After weeks of speculation, the Vancouver Whitecaps are officially keeping left back Ali Adnan.
The club announced on Friday that it has acquired the Iraqi defender from Italian club Udinese in a multimillion-dollar transaction.
The dollar figure has not been revealed, but the Whitecaps said in a statement that the transfer set a Major League Soccer record for the fullback position.
Adnan, 25, first joined the Whitecaps in March on loan from Udinese. That deal expired on June 30.
Coach Marc Dos Santos has repeatedly said that the team would do everything in its power to keep Adnan, calling him one of the best left backs in the league.
“Ali has been a great addition to our club since arriving in March,” the coach said in a statement on Friday. “He understands our defensive principles and has an incredible ability to join the attack, create in the last third, which is very important for teams that want to have an impact offensively using their fullbacks.”
The club also said Adnan has agreed to a new contract through 2021, with an option for 2022, and will occupy a designated player spot on the roster.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound defender has provided physicality and grit for the Whitecaps all season. He’s also tallied a goal and two assists for the club.
Adnan has been a fan favourite, and said he’s felt very welcome in Vancouver.
“From my first day at this club, I feel like I’m at home. It’s not easy to find a club like this,” he said. “I look forward to representing everyone at the club to the best of my ability.”
The Whitecaps also announced on Friday that the club will use targeted-allocation money on striker Joaquin Ardaiz in order to free up a designated-player roster slot.
The Whitecaps are currently in the midst of a four-game road trip and will play Los Angeles FC on Saturday.