Celtic-linked Ambroise Oyongo's MLS contract saga reaching conclusion

Celtic Stands

The Cameroonian left-back was linked with a move to Celtic Park in the recent transfer window before being traded to the Montreal Impact, but he has since failed to report to the Canadian club.

Celtic-linked Ambroise Oyongo’s prolonged contract dispute with MLS looks to finally be coming to an end, with Montreal Impact technical director Adam Braz confirming to MLSSoccer.com that the Cameroonian left-back is expected to arrive in Canada next week.

Oyongo, 23, spent the 2014 campaign on loan with the New York Red Bulls from Cameroonian club Rainbow FC, recording four assists in 13 starts and five substitute appearances to help the team reach the Eastern Conference Championship.

His promising performances prompted to the club to sign him on a permanent basis in the offseason but the nine-time capped international was then traded to Montreal with midfielder Eric Alexander just a few weeks later in exchange for Felipe Martins and the Impact's spot in the allocation rankings, which New York used to acquire US international Sacha Kljestan.

Competing at the African Cup of Nations at the time, the deal did not go down well with agent Nicolas Onisse, who launched a scathing attack of MLS in a subsequent interview with L’Equipe, arguing that his client should not have been dealt without his consent.

Noting that Oyongo had turned down several offers from Europe, including Celtic, in order to remain with the Red Bulls, Onisse said: "It's not at all what had been agreed. It's not fair, not right and incomprehensible.

“Transferring a player without telling him, without asking his opinion remains a serious problem in MLS.”

FECAFOOT, the Cameroonian FA, then waded into the argument, claiming that Oyongo had signed an amateur rather than professional contract with Rainbow FC, making both his transfer to the Red Bulls and the trade invalid.

While the Impact disputed those claims, their new acquisition failed to report to the club ahead of the new season and, nine games in, has still not set foot in Montreal.

At one stage, it appeared as though the Canadian outfit might have to cut their losses and sell the electric full-back to one of his reported European suitors such as Celtic but, after a three-month standoff, an end now appears in sight.

Oyongo still hasn’t made it to Montreal at this point but Braz has confirmed that he is in North America to pursue a Canadian visa, and even looking forward to linking up with his new side.

"As I mentioned all along, we had to be patient," he told the website. "We were following the direction of MLS. They took a legal approach with FIFA with the Cameroonian FA, and I think at the end of the day, Ambroise, his agent [and] the Cameroonian FA clearly understood that everything was done by the book here. He has a contract with MLS. As part of the contract, you’re able to be traded. He was traded, and he belongs to the Montreal Impact.”

On the confusion which led to the dispute, Braz added: "Certainly on his part, maybe there was confusion about being able to be traded without his consent, but that’s how MLS works, that’s how North American sports work.

“He had a clear contract with the league. Originally he was on loan, but the transfer was triggered, so he belonged to MLS and, in turn, belonged to us. Everything on our end was clear.

“We were patient and had a good conversation with him the other day,” Braz continued. “He understands that he has to come here and he has a lot to prove with regard to his level of play, his fitness and also with his teammates as far as coming in here with the right mentality, the right attitude and the right work ethic, too, to prove to everyone that he can play at a high level in this league."

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