Columbus Crew SC reacquires Justin Meram from Orlando City

Columbus Crew SC reacquired winger Justin Meram from Orlando City on Friday, the MLS clubs confirmed.

Meram had spent seven years in Columbus but asked for a trade last year when talks over a new contract stalled, and now will return after an unproductive half-season in Orlando.

Columbus, which in January received over $1 million in allocation money from Orlando for Meram, will now pay $750,000 to get the 29-year-old back from the Lions.

Meram has played in 17 MLS matches for Orlando City this season, scoring only one goal and tallying three assists, after scoring 13 with seven assists for Columbus in 2017.

Last month, Meram told Pro Soccer USA that "this has probably been the hardest four months, maybe, of my life, my career" after extensive fan criticism.

The Iraq international made 200 MLS appearances for Columbus over seven seasons, including the playoffs, scoring 41 goals.

But he left Crew SC on contentious terms and told ESPN in April that "certain markets" are "holding back MLS," possibly alluding to Columbus, whose team is pursuing a move to Austin, Texas.

"We are pleased to welcome Justin back to Crew SC," coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. "He has proven to be one of the League's elite attacking players over the past few years as he helped establish our club's style of play and define our wide attacking midfield profile.

"He complements our current attacking corps and understands our environment, so we are confident he will adapt quickly and make our team better as we aim to qualify for the postseason. He has already left a distinct mark in our club's history and we look forward to the next chapter."

Orlando will get $300,000 in targeted allocation money this season and a further $450,000 next season, as well as an international roster spot.