Team Liquid is in the process of facilitating a buyout agreement with Cloud9 that will see Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen move to Liquid as the new starting mid laner, sources close to both teams told ESPN.
Jensen will replace mid laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park, who throughout the course of 2018 helped lead Liquid to two North American League of Legends Championship Series split titles in Miami in April and Oakland, California, in September. Pobelter's contract with Team Liquid expired Monday, as multiple players across the globe become free agents in professional League of Legends.
Team Liquid and Cloud9 declined to comment.
The Jensen transfer is the first step in what is expected to be a tumultuous offseason in North American and European League of Legends. On Tuesday, Riot Games plans to announce the 10 team selections for the European League of Legends Championship Series, four of which will enter the league and have to start from scratch. That will create an interesting and enticing market for European players, some who will have to choose between competing in North America or Europe.
Throughout his three-and-a-half years of competing in pro League of Legends, Jensen has become one of the best mid laners in North America. Prior to entering competitive play, he -- then known as "Incarnati0n" -- was banned by Riot Games for alleged toxicity and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks toward his peers in Europe. Following the lifting of his ban, Jensen moved to North America and began competing for Cloud9.
In 2018, Jensen had well-documented issues in Cloud9, which led to his benching in June. Throughout the summer, he alternated with backup mid laner Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer. However, at the end of the season and later at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, Jensen became the de facto starting mid laner for the team.
Both Team Liquid and Cloud9 represented North America at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship in October. Team Liquid failed to make it past group stages after making it to the event as the first-seeded North American squad. Cloud9, however, proceeded to make a run to the semifinals after making it past South Korean squad Afreeca Freecs. Cloud9 then fell to Fnatic, who ended up in second place.