Team Liquid are reportedly on the verge of signing European top lane star Barney “Alphari” Morris on a multi-million dollar deal spanning at least two years after beating out Rogue and Fnatic for the former Origen star’s signature.
Alphari’s contract with Astralis — recently rebranded from Origen — ends on Nov. 16, at which time the Englishman, 21, becomes available to sign. The top laner, who played 171 games for Origen from 2018 to 2020, is one of 2021’s hottest free agents.
It appears four-time LCS champs Team Liquid will win the race for his signature, according to ESPN. Alphari’s transatlantic switch would see him replace Jung “Impact” Eon-yeung, who was the highest-paid player in North America last season.
Liquid, Rogue, and Fnatic were reportedly among Morris’ prospective suitors.
Fnatic, who exited Worlds 2020 in the quarterfinals, are believed to have pulled out of the race after Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau shone in groups and against Top Esports.
As Dexerto understands, Liquid has already tabled the multi-year deal for Alphari, and now the LCS org is waiting for the League of Legends free agency window to open. LoL’s global transfer window opens on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 11pm GMT.
Alphari joining the North American competition is the second big shift in the LCS top lane pool heading into the 2021 season. Cloud9 has already made a swap, promoting Australian talent Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami to the starting roster over Worlds semifinalist Eric “Licorice” Ritchie.
Liquid is reportedly also set to make more changes ahead of next season too. The team’s first step will be to tie up Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who is off-contract in November. The org will not, however, retain jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen.
Edward “Tactical” Ra (2021) and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in (2022) remain under contract for now. The LCS heavyweights are believed to be building future plans around AD carry Tactical, who was a standout in Shanghai.
ESPN also suggested Liquid are eyeing FlyQuest jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larssen to fill out their 2021 roster. The Danish shotcaller has not been given permission to talk to other teams ahead of his upcoming Nov. 17 free agency, however.
The lineups of all ten LCS rosters are likely set to change drastically heading into 2021. North America’s struggles at Worlds, and roster moves like Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg’s shock retirement have already set the wheels in motion.
In Shanghai, G2 Esports were punted out of Worlds contention by Damwon Gaming after suffering the fastest defeat in the event’s history. On the other side of the bracket, Suning upset Top Esports to book their spot in the Oct. 31 decider.