I'm switching up the format on this post a little bit and putting the updates at the top of the page. Check the timestamp to find out if the most recent update is new. If you hear anything or have insight to offer, don't be afraid to tip us in the comments or on twitter @TheBentMusket.
UPDATE: LEKIC IS OURS. The team announced via press release this afternoon that Lekic is signed, sealed and delivered, and will be added the roster once his ITC goes through. Which, as we learned from Marko Perovic, could take a while, but won't change the fact that he is a Revolution player now!
UPDATE: We now have conflicting reports in Denmark. According to tipsbladet.dk, Rajko Lekic will travel to the US this weekend to undergo a medical and finalize his contract, as previously reported.
However, both bold.dk and mja.dk have quotes directly from Lekic to the contrary. Apparently he is still training with Silkeborg as his visit to the US Embassy in Copenhagen on Wednesday did not go quite as well as planned. Specifically, he told mja.dk that the embassy staff advised him that his visa would arrive in three or four days, and only then could he travel to the US to complete his move.
The tipsbladet story was the latest one published, but it isn't centered on the Lekic transfer in the first place and appears to be regurgitating old information. The other two stories are a few hours older but feature direct quotes about the subject. If all of this holds, then Lekic won't get his visa until tomorrow at the earliest, definitely precluding any possibility that he could pull a Stolica and feature against RSL.
UPDATE: Not a whole lot new to report, but according to the latest statements from Kent Madsen of Silkeborg, Rajko Lekic's contract will probably be finalized on Saturday or Sunday. Thus, to my earlier speculation that he may be avaliable for selection against RSL on Saturday, it's looking more and more like things won't quite be in place for that just yet.
That's not to say it's impossible. Let's remember that last season Ilija Stolica took the pitch just hours after stepping off an intercontinental flight when his transfer went through. So if the proper paperwork is already in place, he passes his Friday medical and all the right things are signed by Saturday morning, he could still play Saturday night. At this point, though, that's looking like an increasingly bigger "if." We may have to wait until the encounter with Houston at Robertson Stadium on the 17th to see "Psycho" in action.
UPDATE: It appears the rest of the American media is picking up on this story as well. The Allocation Order is running an update concerning Lekic's impending medical, and also links to a bold.dk story that explains Lekic's contract is an MLS-standard 3-year deal, with only the first year guaranteed. We still have no confirmation beyond the word of sporten.dk that he will be making twice his Silkeborg salary, or if he will constitute DP status, if even for just one season.
There is this other piece over at tipsbladet.dk where Lekic discusses moving his family to the area. He mentions that Ilija Stolica and Marko Perovic were especially friendly to him on his previous visits.
So at this point it's as you were. He will travel to Copenhagen to get his work and residence permit papers approved, and then arrive in New England on Friday for a medical. Unless something goes dramatically wrong, he'll be a Revolution player and presumably available for selection against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
UPDATE: Despite Bech's assertions to the contrary as recently as yesterday, Rajko Lekic did not join Silkeborg on their trip to Brondby today. Danish news sources sporten.dk and bold.dk are reporting that he has reached his agreement with the Revs (contingent on his medical) and thus Silkeborg is honoring New England's desire to not have him risk injury in any more action in Denmark. As previously mentioned, he is expected to arrive on Thursday or Friday for his medical, meaning if all things go quickly and smoothly he could be available against RSL.
There's also an English-speaking confirmation of the Lekic move, finally. Frank Dell'Apa at the Globe has reported what we all already know, which is that Lekic has signed with the Revs. He's saying, however, that the move hinges on his work permit, not a medical.
The sporten.dk report also confirms the transfer fee, and once again mentions that Lekic will double his salary. In fact, it says he will make over double what he does now. We're not going to receive any confirmation on that from the team due to MLS's rules on releasing financial data.
UPDATE: So several things (read: discrepancies due to awful google translation) have come to light this morning, and I will do my best to clear everything up to the best of my knowledge.
First of all, Silkeborg manager Troels Bech has asserted that as long as Lekic remains an SIF player on Sunday (and he will be), he will be in the match squad for their clash against Brondby, and that is backed up by several Danish news sources. I should have a link for a stream of that match later, so we might be able to get an advance look at him if he makes an appearance.
Secondly, having reviewed several of the stories and compared them against the latest report from mja.dk, the status on Lekic signing a contract appears to be as follows: he is expected to agree on a contract with the Revs today or tomorrow in principle, and it will go into effect if and when he passes a medical in New England at the end of this coming week. He will still travel to Copenhagen on Wednesday to get his work permit.
Thirdly, I was wrong about the transfer fee. Thanks to Google translate, I read the fee as $1 million, but in reality it is 1 million kr, which (as a commenter has pointed out) is just shy of $191,000. I have heard nothing to dissuade me from the assertion that he is receiving a 100% pay raise which, again, means he's a DP regardless of transfer fee, but I'm looking as hard as I can to find some confirmation on that. It still seems strange that such would be the case if Steve Nicol and the Revs organization have asserted that Lekic would NOT be a DP signing.
UPDATE: Sporten.dk is now reporting that Lekic will be signing the dotted line tonight or tomorrow morning, and will pull on the Revs jersey as soon as he passes his medical. This was also picked up by spn.dk and Ekstra Bladet.
According to these reports, the Revs decided they wanted to pull the trigger quickly to prevent him from featuring against Brondby this weekend.
The catch: Google translate could be going haywire on me and the numbers could be fuzzy, but the Sporten.dk report indicates that Lekic will be earning a 100% pay raise and the transfer fee is just under $1 million. If that's true, he's undoubtedly a designated player, on salary alone. The fee makes it a certainty.
There's been no word from the Revs organization, and I wouldn't expect any until the official release.
Silkeborg and New England have agreed to allow Lekic to go to the American Embassy in Copenhagen on Wednesday to secure a work permit, and then he will travel to New England to have a medical and iron out the final sticking point, which is contract length. This means he'll be available for SIF's match against Brondby this weekend, should his manager choose to use him.
The gist of all the news articles is this: Lekic, SIF and the Revs are ready to pull the trigger. He's going to Copenhagen to work out details for his work permit, then coming to the States. According to Kent Madsen, the transfer fee is low, but he is excited about savings in the wage budget and will be looking for a replacement in the summer. Lekic is understandably apprehensive after the debacle of his previous move to Turkey, but in one report on mja.dk he says he is very confident the deal will get done.
So this is where we stand: pending a medical, LEKIC WILL BE HERE NEXT WEEK. And it looks like the Revs will have the room for him after waiving Seth Sinovic yesterday. There's still the issue of freeing up an international roster spot for him; my guess is that we'll either trade for one or drop Ilija Stolica.
EDIT: Apparently Nicol has confirmed that Stoli's job is not in jeopardy (thanks to S.M. Erickson for that info). SI slot will likely be acquired via trade.
UPDATE: [AMENDED] It's starting to feel like this is all I've been working on lately. This morning had little more than another confirmation that work permit issues are tough in America, but early this afternoon Tipsbladet.dk had some interesting quotes from Kent Madsen. Apparently (and this is off intuition and Google Translate), Silkeborg was originally confused about who assumed liability for the player in the event a work permit is denied. Somehow. Things appear to be rosy now as Madsen has agreed to finalize the deal but, if permit issues persist past the transfer deadline, he will remain a Silkeborg player.
The turning point? Madsen indicates that he had originally thought it highly likely that Lekic's paperwork wouldn't clear before the deadline and wanted to make sure that he wouldn't be left holding the bag in the event Rajko couldn't make the trip across the pond. He has been convinced, however, that the paperwork shouldn't take long at all and wouldn't affect the status of the transfer. If I'm reading everything correctly, this means that both clubs are good to go and are ready to put through Lekic's paperwork. At that point, we're at the mercy of the federal government and the league.
Also, there appears to be a chance that Lekic will be allowed to come to the States and look for a place to live before the deal is actually finalized.
UPDATE: Today we are hearing more about snags in the labyrinthine maze of necessary paperwork and red tape to get an inbound American transfer to go through. Danish news outlet mja.dk reports that all parties are involved are interested in the transfer, and the only thing holding it back is work permit/visa/residency issues. This suggests to me that contract details and fees have been ironed out between the Revs, Silkeborg and Lekic. At this point it's down to MLS and the US Government.
Kent Madsen was also mistaken, it seems, on the MLS transfer deadline: it is April 15th. This story says that the transfer could take longer than expected, but since Madsen expected the transfer to be done by tomorrow, that could easily mean it will still be done before the 15th. All signs point to that.
Another interesting tidbit: this article apparently indicates that Lekic's transfer fee will not be expensive. The rumors floating around those close to the Revolution have indicated that Rajko will not be a Designated Player, leading me to believe that not only is his fee low, he might be taking a pay cut to play here.
UPDATE: Rajko Lekic has told tipsbladet.dk that he and the Revolution have agreed to the conditions (read: salary and compensation) of a contract but not the length. He seems confident the deal will get done, and it appears to be down to the typical international transfer nonsense of work permits and ITCs. I repeat: THIS IS LEKIC'S WORD.
UPDATE 3/28: I had thought this was dead when Lekic left, but the Danish media (and Pelle from DK Footy Report, again scouring the broadsheets) are reporting otherwise. Onside.dk [DANISH] and Bold.dk [DANISH] both report that the teams are in contact and a deal should get done before the MLS transfer window shuts on Thursday. Madsen has been quoted as saying it is up to the "Americans" (the Revs) to sort out formalities, but he believes it will be done.
To his credit, Lekic seems very upbeat and excited, and had great things to say about Foxboro and the facilities. The link to the Bold.dk story has quotes from him. I recommend Google Translate, which is unintentionally hilarious but gets the point across.
UPDATE: Sources have his salary at a confirmed $295,000 per year. If he's signed (which is looking less and less likely, at least not anytime soon), it looks like he'll make DP money, especially if he was offered double that in Turkey.
UPDATE: According to the most recent report [DANISH] I've been able to find, Revs Director of Player Personnel Mike Burns has said that they have not yet decided to buy (I won't use direct quotes because it's a Danish translation). Lekic's trial ended yesterday, so at this point he's either returned to Silkeborg or is on his way there. Both Burns and Silkeborg director Kent Madsen have stressed that there have been no negotiations - in fact, the Revs haven't contacted Silkeborg at all.
UPDATE: Having read through two more poorly-translated news articles out of Denmark (sporten.dk and politiken.dk), I have at least learned that Lekic's situation in Silkeborg is far from ideal. He has been quoted int he media as saying "Unfortunately I think I have to stay in Silkeborg for another half year" and other less-than-endearing comments illustrating his desire to leave.
He apparently apologized to his teammates for his comments over the winter when his move to Turkey fell through, but he's still quite adamant about getting out as soon as he can. I've also been hearing from someone well-versed in Danish soccer that, despite his size, Lekic is not a prototypical target striker. He is very much a poacher and a scorer first, who does not play well with his back to goal but has an incredible nose for it. Basically a more lethal Kenny Cooper is the impression I was given.
UPDATE: The Drug Is Football has gone pretty in-depth on Lekic the player. Also, I may be able to furnish some further insight into his current situation and his expected salary demands. I have an unconfirmed source who says that Lekic's mooted winter deal to Turkey (see TDIF) was reportedly worth $625,000 per year to the striker before it fell through. Top players in Denmark earn $750,000 - $800,000 per year, or thereabouts, but Lekic's salary is likely to be between $275,000 and $300,000 right now. That number is not confirmed.
Trevor Heyward over at The Allocation Order had an update this morning on the Rajko Lekic situation that prompted me to go digging through Danish news and Google translator. From what I've been able to gather, it seems like any deal involving the hulking striker will be taking place later rather than sooner.
Danish news source tipsbladet.dk is reporting [DANISH] that Lekic's trial comes with the intention of working out a deal for January 2012, after his contract with Silkeborg IF expires and he is free to move for no compensation. Obviously, this would take place after the 2011 MLS season ends.
Silkeborg director Kent Madsen has indicated that he's received no word from New England in terms of a firm offer or a plan moving forward. He takes that to mean that Lekic will remain in Silkeborg for the remainder of the Danish season. Lekic will return to Silkeborg tomorrow when his short trial is up, and Madsen has admitted that it would be better for Silkeborg all around if Lekic's move doesn't happen until the end of the season.
If the Revs opt to buy Lekic outright anytime soon, it's a definite that he will be a designated player. The terms and amount of his purchase will necessitate that even if he doesn't make over $335,000 per year (which I'm sure he will not).
We've all heard the mantra from the organization this season: signing a DP is a major priority. However, I don't think I'll be alone in calling it a total cop-out if the Revs sign Lekic that way and then try to hold him up as a major coup. When most New England fans imagine a designated player in Revolution blue, they're expecting a player whose playing level is of a caliber that is deserving of $400,000+ every year in salary, not a player who gets the tag slapped on him as a technicality.
That's not to say that Lekic couldn't seriously help this squad, and if he comes in and hits double-digit goals for the side then he's certainly worth every penny. But it is looking increasingly likely that those 10+ goals will be coming next season, not this season, and the DP search will continue.
Of course, the Revs could buy Lekic as a DP and then sign another DP in a more conventional manner. MLS clubs are allowed a maximum of three. But anyone who follows sports in the Hub knows that the Krafts are notorious for keeping tight purse-strings, and I would be shocked to see the organization shell out that kind of money.
In fairness, it's pretty difficult to sign a DP in the same manner as a Beckham or an Henry in April. Transfer windows the world over are closed, so the most likely scenario is a midseason signing in July. Again, prospects are not looking good for anyone who wants to see Rajko Lekic in a Revolution uniform in the near future.
Team sources were unable to comment further.