According to Uruguayan outlet Deportivo Ovación, Nacional central defender José Aja will join Orlando City on loan, with the MLS club having an option to buy. The loan follows reports yesterday that the 23-year-old was not in the future plans of the Primera Division club and was on his way to MLS.
Aja has been with Nacional, the most popular club in Uruguay, since 2014, though he played the recent Clausura season with fellow Primera Division club Racing Club de Montevideo. Aja made 12 appearances for Racing, scoring two goals and assisting once in 1,278 minutes of play. His disciplinary record shows he was cautioned five times and sent off once.
The defender returned to his parent club, Nacional, after his loan to Racing ended and has been training with the team. However, in an interview with The Oral Deportiva of Universal Radio, Nacional's technical director, Martin Lasarte, said Aja would not feature into the club's future plans and that, "In principle, Aja would go to MLS."
Orlando City was immediately considered the favorite to land the Uruguayan. After trading Aurelien Collin to the New York Red Bulls on April 29, the Lions were left with just three central defenders on the senior team; Seb Hines, David Mateos, and Tommy Redding. The lack of depth at the position has seen the club linked to several players over the past few months.
Aja will take up one of the two international roster spots vacated by midfielder Adrian Winter and defender Aurelien Collin, when the former left the club to return to his native Switzerland to be closer to his family and the latter was traded to New York Red Bulls. The Lions have also been linked recently with Brazilian defender Dionatan Teixeira from Stoke City in England.
We'll continue to keep you updated as this story develops.