LAFC defender Laurent Ciman is on the verge of a move to Ligue 1 side Dijon, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
Nicolas Martineau of TVA was first to report the news. A source with knowledge of the deal added that LAFC will receive a transfer fee of around $500,000 from Dijon in exchange for Ciman, who is poised to sign a multi-year contract.
The move comes at an auspicious time of the season for LAFC. The expansion side has fared well over the course of the campaign, and is on course to reach the postseason. LAFC lies in third place in the Western Conference, three points behind first place FC Dallas. Ciman was the team's captain and provided a critical presence in the center of LAFC's defense as well as on set pieces. It was his late goal from a free kick that gave LAFC a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in the team's inaugural home match at Banc of California Stadium.
But Ciman, 33, is in the last year of his contract and wants an extension. With offers coming in from Europe, the defender was sufficiently distracted so that manager Bob Bradley ruled his captain out of last Friday's 1-1 draw with crosstown rivals the LA Galaxy.
"I love Laurent, but I don't think that he's fully focused in the moment, and when there's other things going on, I will defend the team at the highest level," Bradley said following Friday's match. "I had a good talk with Laurent yesterday and said, 'Look, right now, let's see if we can get things squared away for you.'
Bradley later added: "Look, Laurent has been an important guy. He's passionate, but he's also emotional, and he's a guy that when his emotions are running high, sometimes it's not always clear if he's ready, especially for a game like that."
LAFC will now rely heavily on center-back Danilo Silva -- who was recently acquired on loan from Brazilian side Internacional -- to partner Walker Zimmerman in defense with Dejan Jakovic backing them up.
If the deal is completed, as seems likely, Ciman will have spent parts of four seasons in MLS, three with the Montreal Impact, where he was named the MLS Defender of the Year following the 2015 season.
He has made 109 league and cup appearances in MLS, scoring seven goals. Three of those came this season with LAFC in 24 league and cup appearances. Prior to playing with the Impact, Ciman spent five seasons with Standard Liege. He has also had spells with Kortrijk and Club Brugge.