Busy summer transfer window awaits Americans - a look at potential moves
June 14, 2021
THE SILLY SEASON is underway and it looks like this window will be busy for American players. Given the number of players who were out on loan last season, it almost has to be. But there are lots of things that could happen this window and here is a look at some of the American players who could be on the move.
The total list is long and there are all kinds of deals and interest that could surface. Sales out of MLS have increased for young American players but the trend is that players move in the winter after the season is complete.
In terms of who seems likely to move this summer, here is a list of players to keep an eye on.
Imminent move ahead
Justin Che to Bayern Munich
After a successful loan from FC Dallas to Bayern Munich where he featured for the powerful German club’s youth teams, Justin Che will likely seal a permanent deal to Bayern. Che has returned to FC Dallas this past week to continue training but the discussions with Bayern are ongoing over a permanent deal. Dallas has a partnership agreement with Bayern and will likely seek a sell-on fee and a higher transfer fee to make the whole partnership worth it from their perspective.
Konrad de la Fuente to Marseille
Numerous media have reported that Konrad de la Fuente will be heading Marseille, which finished fifth in Ligue 1 in 2020/21. That seems to be accurate. The terms of such a move are conflicting. Will Barcelona have a buy-back clause? Will it be a full transfer or will it be a loan with an option to buy?
Barcelona is open to selling just about everyone right now for the right price given the club’s astronomical debt. De la Fuente won’t even move the needle in terms of debt reduction, but unfortunately most clubs (especially in France) have much tighter budgets right now and loans are more common.
Expect de la Fuente to move to Marseille on a loan with an option to buy.
Christian Ramirez to Aberdeen
Struggling for playing time with the Houston Dynamo, Christian Ramirez, 30, has a transfer to Aberdeen in Scotland set with a transfer price and wages agreed to. The only thing that is in his way is a UK Work Permit – which is typically more lenient in Scotland. The interest stems from Stephen Glass, former Atlanta United 2 manager and former Atlanta United interim manager, is the current manager at Aberdeen.
Aberdeen is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Premiership.
Who is next?
The backup U.S. national team goalkeeper is coming off an amazing performance in a win over Mexico and that has only helped to boost his stock. He’s out of contract at the moment and will move at some point. Starting goalkeeping positions are hard to come by and it could take some time.
Must move at some point
Since joining Chelsea, Matt Miazga has been on loan at Vitesse, Nantes, Reading, and most recently, Anderlecht. After his last season, Anderlecht wanted him back but it doesn’t look as if the Belgian club will be able to come to terms with Chelsea.
Another loan looks likely for Miazga and it seems like Italy or German would be the most likely landing spots with just 12 months remaining on his contract. If he’s going to leave one of the best Belgian clubs, it will likely be to a top league – but one where he has a good chance at playing.
After a very good season with Bournemouth – his sixth loan to a Championship team – Cameron Carter-Vickers is entering his final year of his contract with Tottenham. The good news for Spurs and for Carter-Vickers is that his last two loans, Bournemouth and Luton Town, have been the best of his career. At 23, he’s played well over 10,000 first team minutes so he’s a known quantity. Suitors know what they are getting in Carter-Vickers.
With that being said, it might be entirely possible that Carter-Vickers is sold and not loaned out again. His value his never been higher and its certainly possible a Premier League looks to bring him in – even as a backup.
Another American on a “loan army,” Erik Palmer-Brown just completed a second season at Austria Vienna on loan from Manchester City. He’s been hovering mid to lower end of Europe’s middle leagues (Kortrijk, NAC Breda, and now Austria Vienna). This will be a tricky next move for him. Would he go to the second-tier in Spain or Germany? Is there demand in the top tier in Italy, France? Could the Gold Cup open up England and perhaps the Championship?
Palmer-Brown’s next step is a tough one to predict. He’s a good player but can he swing a move that is a big step up from where he’s been and one where he can achieve playing time?
Chris Richards had a good loan in 2021 to Hoffenheim and that clearly opened up doors. He can return to Bayern Munich and realistically fight for minutes again off the bench. The worst he can do is return to Hoffenheim, which likes him, and be a regular in the Bundesliga again – this time for a full season.
That seems like the most likely scenario although there are even better Bundesliga clubs looking for central defenders at the moment – Leipzig being just one.
Taylor Booth had some very nice moments early in his loan at St. Poelten in the Austrian Bundesliga. But the team fell apart in the final two months of the season and suffered relegation. That loan was his first steps at a first-team level. Returning to Bayern’s reserves is probably a step backward. Normally playing for a club relegated in Austria makes it tough to find another club, but Booth had some really nice moments and has the Bayern backing. A return to Austria with another club seems like the worst he is going to do – and that’s not necessarily bad. He might be able to move up in league quality – with Belgium being another possibility.
Llanez is in a tough spot. His loan to Heerenveen for the 2020/21 season was a disaster. He rarely played and then was in a situation where he had to deal with personal problems and injuries. He’s not ready for his parent club, Wolfsburg, and is unlikely to find another club in Europe as good as Heerenveen – perhaps in Scandinavia. A good MLS gig would be his best option, but that probably has to go through the LA Galaxy – and that could be tricky. If he is homesick, he’ll have to find a way to make it work here.
It seems pretty clear now that Alex Mendez isn’t on a good track with Ajax and was mostly coming off the bench with Jong Ajax last season (despite being one of the oldest players on Jong Ajax). He has one more year left on his Ajax deal. He could move within Holland, although how far would that get him? Most teams can’t afford non-EU players and while Ajax could fit the bill for the season, sending him within Holland removes a realistic option-to-buy.
Without being a USMNT player and without an EU passport, Mendez is probably limited to Belgium, Germany (mostly the 2.Bundesliga), Portugal, Denmark, or the rest of Scandinavia. Of course, he could play in Mexico or the United States. Any place where he plays would be a success at this stage.
At the start of the 2021 U-20 cycle, Argentinos Juniors attacking midfielder Matko Miljevic was considered one of the better players in the pool. Since then, however, his career has been a disaster. He hasn’t played since February 2020 and it’s not clear how much he has been training with Argentinos.
It was reported that the Galaxy were looking at him recently but passed. He’s lost a lot of time and is now a project to any team that brings him in. He’s lost so much time.
2020/21 was just a tough season for Vassilev. A loan to League One’s Burton Albion was unsuccessful and he was recalled. A subsequent loan to Cheltenham Town in League Two wasn’t any better. His Premier League debut in 2020 with Aston Villa seems like ages ago. But it is hard to determine what is the next step for Vassilev after his two tough loans but he’s not ready for Aston Villa right now.
Technically still on the books at Anderlecht, Kenny Saief is coming off an unsuccessful loan at Lechia Gdansk in Poland. Saief, 27, has never been the same since his hernia injury (and setbacks) in 2017. At this point, it seems like a return to Israel is his best bet.
The right back from New Jersey was with Rotherham United last season but that club was relegated from the Championship and Olosunde looks to be moving on. The best bets are that he remains in England or returns home. The most recent rumor had him linked with Preston North End in the Championship and that sounds about the level he’ll find himself.
Very possible to move soon
The United States national team forward is now back with Orlando City after a strong half-season with Barnsley where he scored nine goals. He backed it up with a solid outing with the United States national team where he scored his first international goal in a 4-0 win over Costa Rica in a friendly.
There is going to be a lot of smoke around Dike – The Athletic reported that Watford is the latest club to sniff around for Dike. That makes sense as he was in the shop window in England for most of the past year. Orlando isn’t a bad place for him to play in the meantime. If anything, he is utilized as a more complete forward with Orlando than he ever was at Barnsley. Under Oscar Pareja, he passes more, makes better off-ball runs, etc.
It was a tough season for Sargent and Werder Bremen as the U.S. international scored just five goals and Werder Bremen were relegated from the Bundesliga. Werder Bremen will certainly entertain offers for all players to tighten the financial belt in the 2.Bundesliga.
Most recently, Bild has linked Sargent with Borussia Monchengladbach. Towards the end of the season, ESPN linked Sargent with Stuttgart, Bayern Leverkusen, and Eintracht Frankfurt. With his youth, Sargent will have options although maybe not has high of a price Werder would like. The odds are certainly that Sargent remains in the Bundesliga, but it will be telling what his price will be and how he performs in preseason. Wherever he goes, he won’t have the long leash he had at Werder – so he’s coming into a period where he is going to have to have find his scoring form quickly
Another American coming off relegation, Robinson showed a lot of positive traits with Fulham in his first season in the Premier League. His gut-busting runs and speed at covering the left side were impressive. Combined with the fact left backs are just tough to find, Robinson should have options in the Premier League. The further you head up the table, however, the tougher it will be to get minutes.
The last rumor, however, has linked Robinson with Manchester City. That’s certainly a top level, but it raises the real possibility Robinson would arrive as the backup – or third string. It’s similar to how he was once set to join AC Milan in 2020. Robinson has played over 10,000 first team minutes the past four seasons, is he ready for a back-up role? He’s built for playing at this point.
It’s still early and there is a chance he gets more offers and he certainly checks the boxes for a lot of clubs. Helping Fulham in a promotional effort is a decent floor.
Matthew Hoppe had a great stretch in January and then ended his season well. For a historically bad Schalke team, scoring six goals is pretty impressive. That should get him offers. Hoppe, 19, has been pretty adamant at times about staying with Schalke, but that was before relegation and that was before its fans behaved poorly after relegation (attacking the team’s bus).
It also doesn’t seem like Schalke is going to be pushing for promotion either but they’re going to need the players to give it a shot. Hoppe right now isn’t expensive so it will be close as to whether or not Schalke needs money, or needs pieces to get promoted.
Staying the 2.Bundesliga wouldn’t be bad for Hoppe at this stage in his career if he is a regular starter.
Cannon, 23, is almost certainly not going to be back with Boavista next season. He was a regular starter in Portugal last season and played well for decent stretches – but it was tough. The team only narrowly avoided relegation. Still, with his caps and now a season in Portugal under his belt, he should get some more offers and possibly in one of the bigger leagues – the mid-table range of Serie A, the Bundesliga, or Ligue 1 seem most likely.
A very streaky player, Tyler Boyd has shown in Turkey in stints with three teams that he can be really dangerous when he’s on his game. Unfortunately, he can go for long stretches when he struggles to get involved. Last season, his loan to Sivasspor from Besiktas was up and down. A recent Turkish report said Boyd was on his way out at Besiktas and that is certainly believable – although the club might need more depth due to having qualified for Europe next season.
Boyd should be able to find a job this summer. An gig in MLS would be there for him and he probably still has interest in Portugal. One of the “Big Five” leagues in Europe seems a bit too far at the moment but he could push for a move in the middle leagues (Belgium, Denmark, etc) – although his lack of an EU passport presents some hurdles.
Possible to move soon
A regular starter at St. Truiden, Durkin might have some offers and there are repots (ASN can confirm) of Spezia in Serie A being interested. That might not be the only offer either. For now, he’s in a pretty good spot but St. Truiden is limited and Durkin isn’t in the national team player pool at the moment. If he wants to start pushing himself and raising his profile, taking a chance to leave seems like a gamble worth taking.
Last season was a nail-biter for SM Caen that avoided relegation out of Ligue 1 thanks to a last day miracle. But Gioacchini did not play much in the final two months of the season under manager Fabrice Vandeputte and he probably needs to find stability to take his career to the next level. The good news for Gioacchini is that he has a new manager in Stéphane Moulin (who is coming off a run at Angers in Ligue 1 where he had been the longest-continuously-serving manager of any club in Europe's top five leagues) and this can only be an improvement. If Gioacchini leaves, he’d probably move up within Ligue 2 or possibly Ligue 1. France remains a tough country to predict as the clubs there are going through a cash crunch.
Sebastian Soto’s career has been tough to predict – starting at Hannover, moving to Norwich while not having the criteria to get a UK work permit, going on loan to Telstar, getting recalled only to play with Norwich’s reserves.
With Norwich promoted to the Premier League, it’s hard to imagine that Soto is going to play in England’s top flight right away. It would be puzzling if he doesn’t go on loan again.