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Sacramento Republic Transfer Ivan Mirkovic to Orange County Blues

Certainly didn't see this one coming.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that should send shockwaves throughout the Republic fanbase, it was announced today that Republic midfielder Ivan Mirković has been signed by USL Western Conference rivals Orange County Blues.

The news was first broken by Sacramento Bee reporter Bill Patterson.

It was then quickly confirmed by both the Blues and the Republic.

The immediate reaction from some of the fans was, in a word, unhappy.

According to Patterson, the transfer was arranged in large part due to the fact that Paul Buckle was not able to guarantee Mirković a starting spot in the Republic midfield.

The signing of JJ Koval and the depth of talent in central midfield for the Republic seems to have played a large part in Mirković's move.

In the OC Blues press release, Blues coach and GM Oliver Wyss said "We are thrilled to bring in one of the most dynamic and respected midfielders in the league for the past two seasons. Ivan is a true champion and his leadership will have a tremendous impact on the team."

Mirković himself said "I am excited to join OC Blues FC and I'm very excited for a new challenge in my career. When the [regular season] champions are interested in you, then you must not hesitate for a single second and I am looking forward to what lies ahead."

Although it makes sense for Mirković to go to a place where he is pretty much guaranteed to start consistently, this move is still one that will hit the Republic fanbase hard. He is the sixth starter from last year's team to leave Sacramento, and he is arguably the departure that will sting the most. Mirković was one of the most popular players on the team, well liked among the fans for his always solid play in midfield.

I suppose this will make this year's four Republic matches against the Blues that much more interesting.

What do you think about this move? Let us know in the comments below.