Orlando City SC are close to finalising a loan deal for Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Orlando agreed terms with Brazilian centre-back Paulo Andre last month following his release from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, but the veteran backed out of the deal at the last minute after receiving an increased offer from Cruzeiro.
Still looking to plug the hole next to former MLS Cup MVP Aurelien Collin in central defence, the expansion side brought in Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger on trial earlier this week, but general manager Paul McDonough also revealed details about an impending signing from the Championship.
“Sean is very much first choice at the moment,” McDonough told MLSsoccer.com. “He has the experience and the kind of ability we’re looking for in the middle of the back four.
“But we will also be bringing over another English player from the Championship on Monday or Tuesday and giving him a full trial as well. He can play at both center back or on the right, so it’s perfectly possible we could sign both of them.”
Hines, 26, has made 87 total appearances for Middlesbrough since coming up through the ranks to earn his first-team debut in 2007, with injuries continuing to hamper his progress on Teesside.
The West Yorkshire-native, who holds a US passport through his American father, turned out for England from Under-16 to Under-19 level, but revealed his desire in 2012 to don the stars and stripes in the future.
“I definitely feel part of both countries,” he told American Soccer Now. “It’s not like I found some distant relative [in the U.S]. America has always been a massive part of my life. My father and grandparents are all very much American. I grew up with American sports even over here where they’re not as big as football. Football was the main sport growing up.”
Set for a reported six-month switch to MLS with a view to a permanent move, Hines looks in line to start alongside Brazil superstar and Orlando number 10 Kaka in 2015, as the Florida-based outfit bid to make an impression in their inaugural top-flight season.