In desperate need of defensive help, the New York Red Bulls have acquired center-back Aurelien Collin from Orlando City SC in exchange for a 2017 fourth round draft pick, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN FC.
Additionally, the Red Bulls will pick up roughly half of Collin's $500,000 annual salary.
The New York Post was first to report the deal, with FourFourTwo.com adding the salary details.
New York, winner of last year's Supporters' Shield, has suffered through a brutal start to the 2016 regular season, winning just two of its first eight games. While the team has struggled at both ends of the field, the problems in the back have been especially acute, with the Red Bulls conceding a league worst 17 goals.
Heading into the campaign, New York knew it would have to retool its backline to a degree. With the contract of center back Matt Miazga due to expire at the end of the 2016 season, the Red Bulls opted to sell the 20-year-old defender to English Premier League side Chelsea back in January.
Damien Perrinelle, Miazga's partner in the center of defense for much of last season, is still recovering from the torn ACL in his left knee he sustained during last year's playoffs.
The Red Bulls signed Ghanaian defender Gideon Baah to partner Ronald Zubar in the center of defense, but both players have missed time due to hamstring injuries, with Baah limited to action in just three games.
The hope is that the experienced Collin, 30, will help stabilize New York's defense with his tough tackling and aerial presence. He is also expected to provide an attacking threat on set pieces. The Frenchman was an MLS Best XI performer in 2012, and helped lead Sporting Kansas City to a U.S. Open Cup that same season, and an MLS Cup victory over Real Salt Lake a year later.
Collin was traded to Orlando City prior to the start of the 2015 season, and made 28 regular season appearances, scoring two goals. But he found himself reduced to a reserve role this season, with Sebastian Hines and Tommy Redding preferred by manager Adrian Heath.
Overall, Collin has made 147 league and playoff appearances, scoring 17 goals.
While Orlando is still on the hook for roughly $250,000 of Collin's salary, the move should free up enough cap space to find a suitable replacement, either before the close of the primary transfer window on May 11, or when the summer window opens on July 4.