Capricornus 21, 2077 - m249
Huacheng Dongji will sell its star striker, Darkeem Dennis, to Europa United for 550,000 M-Credits in an unprecedented deal that has rocked the MAFL.
League insiders viewed the move as Dongji acknowledging its season was lost, preferring to work on developing its prospects rather than make a futile push for the playoffs with a volatile star rumoured to be a toxic presence in the locker room.
The deal will also provide a cash infusion to the struggling club, that has faced dismal attendance and fan engagement with a league-low 4-10 record more than halfway through the season. Dongji announced it will call up two junior forwards, Xie Chen and Lim Hou, from its affiliate club to fill Dennis’s role.
“Look, we’ve had a rough start. That’s undeniable,” Dongji manager Rain Chen said. “But I think what we’re saying today is we’re focused on our future.”
Acquiring Dennis is the centrepiece of an overhaul inside the middling United, where management has decided its current squad is outmatched and in need for more talent to contend with the league-leading San Olympus Titans.
For weeks, United has reportedly been shopping trades for several players, including defender Denica Jasienski. The team is also expected to shuffle goaltender Yvonne Barnato into a midfield role.
But United could be making a spectacular mistake. While Dennis skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboard with four goals early in the season, his production has since stalled – prompting some scouts to suggest that he was merely quick to adapt to the game in its early days, rather than a bonafide star player. Sources inside Dongji say Dennis, a 27-year-old American who grew up in Wendland, never truly settled into life in Huacheng.
“He can’t handle adversity,” one former teammate said. “Every loss, it was another outburst with him. Blaming people. Throwing shit. It was enough.”
Dennis shrugged at suggestions that he had been at odds with his Dongji teammates.
“Listen man, I’m just grateful for everything,” he said.