Raúl Rodríguez has began negotiating the termination of his contract with RCD Espanyol in order to join the Houston Dynamo on a free transfer, according to Quique Iglesias, the sports editor of Barcelona-based Cope. As it stands now, the defender's termination is in the hands of Espanyol president Joan Collet and, if approved, he will be able to move to Houston ahead of the new season.
Rodríguez's current contract is in place until June of this year but after seeing just a single minute of La Liga play and two Copa Del Ray starts, the centerback is trying to force a move earlier. He joins teammates Carlos Clerc and Manu Lanzarote as players that were left off the upcoming Copa fixture against Valencia and all three are seeking winter transfers.
Since the story broke in late December, Rodríguez has reportedly whittled his transfer options to Houston, Real Zaragoza and La Liga's Rayo Vallecano. With Zaragoza, the player's apparent preference, needing to clear several financial hurdles to allow for it to happen, Rayo Vallecano has become more aggressive in the last week to sign Rodríguez, citing him as a transfer window priority.
If the contract is terminated and Rodríguez is allowed to move on a free transfer, the Dynamo may be able to pull off a non-DP contract. The signing of Cubo Torres has filled the three allotted Designated Player slots for the team (with DaMarcus Beasley and Alex Lopez) and, barring future CBA negotiations, Rodríguez would not be possible with a transfer fee attached. With the contract termination, Rodríguez could likely fit under a maximum salary of $387,500.
Dynamo Theory will continue to provide updates on the player's situation as it develops.
UPDATE (01/08): Chris Canetti has teased over on Twitter that the Dynamo are hoping to make some news today. While this does not necessarily relate to Rodríguez, there are reports out of Catalonia that the defender is close to finalizing his contract termination today. Further reports by Spain-based Sport have hinted that Rodríguez will not sign off on his contract termination unless a concrete deal is in place.
UPDATE (01/08): RCD Espanyol has officially terminated the contract with Raúl Rodríguez. The player will hold a farewell press conference next week (delayed so that it will not interfere with this week's fixtures for the club) and then move on to his next club. It is reported that he is still in negotiations with that club.