D.C. United trade Julian Gressel to Whitecaps - sources

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In the first player move of the Wayne Rooney era, D.C. United has traded wingback Julian Gressel to the Vancouver Whitecaps for up to $900,000 in allocation money, sources confirmed to ESPN.

The Washington Post was the first to report the news.

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The deal will see the Black-and-Red receive $400,000 of General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2022, $200,000 in 2023 and $300,000 in 2024 GAM if certain performance incentives are met.

The move comes amid confirmation of a report from the Washington Post that DCU is attempting to secure the services of Jamaican international midfielder Ravel Morrison, who worked previously with Rooney at Derby County and is out of contract.

The Athletic also reported that D.C. United is in talks with free agent forward Jesse Lingard, a former teammate of Rooney's at Manchester United.

Gressel, 28, is widely regarded as one of the best wingbacks in the league, and was one of DCU's steadiest performers during his time in the nation's capital. But with Rooney shifting DCU to a four-man back line without wingbacks, the thought is that Gressel wouldn't have fit as well into the new manager's plans, though Gressel did excel in a variety of roles when he was with Atlanta United. He should fit well into Vancouver's system which employs wingbacks, and his deliveries from out wide should take some of the pressure off playmaker Ryan Gauld.

Gressel spent parts of the previous three seasons with D.C. United, scoring eight goals in 73 league appearances. He was acquired from Atlanta United just prior to the 2020 campaign for $1.1 million in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), $1m of which was guaranteed.

Gressel was drafted by the Five Stripes out of Providence College prior to the 2017 season with the eighth overall pick. In three seasons with Atlanta, he scored 20 goals in 118 league, cup and playoff appearances. He was part of teams that won the 2018 MLS Cup, 2019 U.S. Open Cup and 2019 Campeones Cup.