U.S. international goalkeeper Tim Howard is on the verge of completing a move to the Colorado Rapids from Everton, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations have told ESPN FC.
Colorado's interest in Howard first surfaced in January, shortly after it acquired the top spot in the MLS allocation order, which gave the team first crack at a set list of U.S. internationals and former MLS players who might be interested in coming to the league.
Sources confirmed that Rapids general manager Tim Hinchey flew to England last week to finalize the deal with Howard and Everton. While a few small details remain -- including final approval from Colorado's ownership -- Howard is expected to complete the Premier League season with Everton and then join the Rapids when the MLS summer transfer window opens in July. His contract will run until 2019.
One reason the talks have dragged on is that, after initially saying Howard could leave on a free transfer, Everton proceeded to ask for a fee. Sources stated that the two sides agreed on a fee between $600,000 and $750,000.
Reports last week also indicated that Howard was asking for a four-year deal that would pay him $5 million per year. But sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that Howard's annual salary will be around $2m.
That figure would make him comfortably the highest-paid goalkeeper in MLS. According to salary data from the 2015 season provided by the league's players' union, a salary of $2m would put Howard in the top 15 of MLS salaries.
Howard is an iconic figure in U.S. soccer, especially after his epic performance in the 2014 World Cup, when he delivered a 15-save effort in the round-of-16 defeat against Belgium. He has also been a mainstay for the Toffees, logging more than 400 appearances in all competitions.
The 36-year-old signed a four-year contract in 2014 with the intention of staying at Everton until the 2018 World Cup but has endured some shaky performances this season and recently lost his spot in the starting lineup to Joel Robles.
Colorado has been eager to increase its profile this offseason and had made acquiring a Mexico international and a U.S. counterpart a huge priority. Howard's impending arrival satisfies half of that goal, and the Rapids are banking on his presence boosting the club's income from ticket and sponsorship sales.
The deal sees Howard return to MLS after spending more than 13 years in the Premier League. He played for the MetroStars -- the forerunner to the New York Red Bulls -- from 1998 to 2003, before signing for Manchester United, where he made 77 appearances in three seasons and won the FA Cup in 2004.
He was loaned to Everton for the 2006-07 season and made the move permanent in February 2007. Since then, he has made more than 400 appearances for the Goodison Park club.
Howard has appeared for the U.S. 106 times and, in addition to 2014, was part of the national team's squads at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.