The 2016 MLS SuperDraft is shaping up to have plenty of wheeling, dealing and surprises on Thursday in Baltimore, but one player will not be a part of the action.
Sources have confirmed to Goal USA that Major League Soccer will not be signing UCLA sophomore striker Abu Danladi to a Generation Adidas deal.
Rated as one of the top talents potentially available for the draft, Danladi had been in discussions with MLS over a potential signing, but ultimately an agreement could not be reached in time to make Danladi available for the draft.
Danladi was the highest-rated forward heading into the draft, but talks with MLS stalled in December when it appeared he would choose instead to pursue options in Europe. Sources confirmed to Goal USA that Danladi and MLS resumed negotiations this month, but in the end Danladi failed to agree to the offers made by MLS.
It is unclear whether Danladi will still turn pro and continue to seek out a contract in Europe, or return to UCLA for his junior season.
Danladi's exclusion should clear up the top of the draft, where he would have been a top three pick. Now, with Danladi out of the mix, Wake Forest midfielder Jack Harrison, Georgetown defender Joshua Yaro and Stanford defender Brandon Vincent are expected to be the top three players chosen.
The Chicago Fire hold the first pick in the MLS draft, with the Colorado Rapids selecting second. Sources have confirmed to Goal USA that the Rapids would have selected Danladi No. 2 overall if he had been available.
The Generation Adidas program is used by MLS to sign top college underclassmen and make them eligible for the draft. Generation Adidas signings, seniors and graduating juniors are the only college players eligible for the draft. Harrison, Yaro, North Carolina midfielder Omar Holness, Akron midfielder Richie Laryea, Creighton forward Fabian Herbers, Syracuse midfielder Julian Buescher and Clemson goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell make up the 2016 Generation Adidas class, and all seven players are expected to be drafted in the first round.
The 2016 MLS SuperDraft takes place on Thursday in Baltimore.