14.01.2022 - 22:35 | source: Charlotte/TM/The Athletic | Reading Time: 2 mins
Middlesbrough FC
Riley McGree
Never played in MLS 

McGree joins Middlesbrough - Charlotte FC receive significant transfer profit

This article first appeared on Jan. 13 and has been updated after the deal was confirmed by both clubs. 

It is one of the more remarkable stories of the winter transfer window. Major League Soccer expansion side Charlotte FC have sold 23-year-old Australian midfielder Riley McGree to Middlesbrough. While reports on Thursday suggested a fee of around $9 million, Charlotte FC sporting director Zoran Krneta told The Athletic that the fee is $4 million initially and could rise to $6 million once certain incentives are met. That would rank McGree just outside the top 10 most expensive outgoing transfers in MLS history (overview)

The transfer also represents a significant profit for Charlotte FC. Transfermarkt understands that the MLS club paid about $500,000 to secure the player's rights from Adelaide United in October 2020. Krneta confirmed the amount on Friday, telling The Athletic that Charlotte paid $590,000 for the Australian. At the time of buying the player, Charlotte was not scheduled to kickstart their first-ever season in MLS for over a year. As a result, McGree was loaned out to Birmingham City, scoring three goals and two assists in 30 Championship games. 

Market Value
Riley McGree
R. McGree Central Midfield

Under normal circumstances, McGree was scheduled to return to the club this January and join the club's preparation ahead of Charlotte's inaugural season. But McGree has generated significant interest in the UK during his loan and was close to joining Scottish side Celtic before Middlesbrough came in with a significantly improved better offer for the 23-year-old, whose current market value is $660,000. 

Swiderski, Alcívar, Mello & Co.: Charlotte FC record transfers

Pablo Sisniega | Acquired from LAFC in 2021 | Fee: $50,000
© imago images


Derrick Jones | Acquired from Houston Dynamo in 2022 | Fee: $200,000 GAM
© imago images


Jaylin Lindsey | Acquired from Sporting Kansas City in 2021 | Fee: $325,000
© imago images


Kristijan Kahlina | Signed from Ludogorets in 2022 | Fee: $450,000
© imago images


Riley McGree | Signed from Adelaide United in 2020 | Fee: $500,000
© imago images


Daniel Ríos | Traded from Nashville SC in 2022 | Fee: $500,000 GAM
© imago images


Sergio Ruiz | Signed from Racing Santander in 2021 | Fee: $825,000
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Vinicius Mello | Signed from Internacional in 2021 | Fee: $1.8 million
© imago images


Kamil Jozwiak | Signed from Derby County in 2022 | Fee: $2.6 million
© imago images


Jordy Alcívar | Signed from LDU Quito in 2021 | Fee: $3 million
© imago images


Karol Swiderski | Signed from PAOK in 2022 | Fee: $5m
© imago images


Charlotte FC: Knew McGree "was being tracked" - "Will invest transfer fee"

“We knew Riley was being tracked by a lot of clubs across Europe after his successful spell at Birmingham, and we finally fielded an offer that was too good to turn down," Krneta said in a Charlotte FC club statement. "To sell a player for profit that has never played a game for your Club is a testament to our incredible scouting department who identified Riley as a player with a bright future. We will invest this transfer fee back into our inaugural roster as we continue to build towards the start of 2022."

Additional news
Riley McGree
Date of Birth/Age: 02.11.1998 (23)
Nat.:  Australia
Current club: Middlesbrough FC
Contract until: Jun 30, 2025
Position: Central Midfield
Market Value: €2.50m
Charlotte FC
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Latest Transfer:
Andre Shinyashiki
Middlesbrough FC
Total Market Value:
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Zack Steffen