Morning update: Dest in limbo, tragedy in Charlotte, McKennie assist, and more
January 20, 2023
IT’S FRIDAY, the weekend is near, and we have a full slate of games coming up in the days ahead, including the return of the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, January is bringing a ton of player movement both in Europe and here on the domestic front where MLS preseason is in full swing.
So, let’s get right into the news.
- In Italy, top media is reporting that AC Milan seems unlikely to exercise its option to buy Sergino Dest from Barcelona. No decision is made yet as AC Milan has until the end of the season. But basically, Dest needs to play more and make noticeable impacts when he does if he wants to stick around. This report might just be a warning shot to Dest that he needs to pick it up. Who knows? But it's hard to argue AC Milan is playing Dest like a player they value and want to keep long term.
Per La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy (cited in the linked VI stor): While a decision will be made after the season, AC Milan is currently not planning on exercising its €20 million option to buy #USMNT right back Sergio Dest from Barcelona. https://t.co/kRknzXLuH6— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 20, 2023
But what happens if Dest doesn’t stick around? It’s then a problem. Barcelona doesn’t really want him and Dest isn’t happy there. Unfortunately, there are limited clubs that can afford Dest, even on loan. So he’s looking at a tough summer with some big decisions.
- It was tragic news on Wednesday that English midfielder Anton Walkes, 25, died unexpectedly in a boating accident in Florida. Walkes developed in the Tottenham academy but later moved to MLS where he played 73 games for Atlanta United and then 23 for Charlotte. In between, he spent time with Portsmouth in England. An outpouring of support throughout the league surfaced on Thursday.
.@AntonWalkes off the header! ????— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 20, 2021
That's 2-0 for @ATLUTD! #ATLvPHI pic.twitter.com/RimDyxwIAv
- The Seattle Sounders extended the contracts of Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan through 2027 along with a new deal with Danny Leyva through 2026 (with an option for 2027). Morris and Roldan were no-brainers. They have meant so much to the organization and have helped it become one of the best teams in the league. The deal for Leyva is interesting given that Leyva has struggled for playing time not only behind top players such as Joao Paulo and Albert Rusnak but also homegrowns such as Josh Atencio and Obed Vargas. Leyva is currently in Florida with the U.S. U-20 team as the Sounders are preparing for the Club World Cup.
- The New York Red Bulls are currently linked with Dante Vanzeir. Rumors have been circulating for weeks, but reports from Belgium now give this some credibility. Vanzier, 24, is one of the best wingers in Belgium’s First Division with Union SG and he currently has 10 goals on the season.
- Christian Ramirez finally joined the Columbus Crew on a deal from Aberdeen. Ramirez, 31, has been in Aberdeen for two seasons and did well upon his arrival but struggled for minutes after Stephen Glass was fired in 2021.
- Apparently the newest suitor for U.S. national team and Antalyaspor forward Haji Wright is Southampton, according to this report from Turkey.
- Finally, Juventus is into the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia after a 2-1 win over Monza in the Round of 16 on Thursday. Juventus will next face Lazio on February 1. Weston McKennie played a full 90 in the win over Monza. The bad news is that he played on the wing, where he not at his best. The good news is that he hit this beauty of a cross for an assist.
Love this assist from Weston McKennie for Juventus in its 2-1 win over Monza in the Coppa Italia. I hope he’s not a winger for much longer, but he’s very versatile and can help teams in a number of ways pic.twitter.com/CKScq7vbnD— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 19, 2023
Americans in action on Friday
- In La Liga, Mallorca hosting Celta Vigo at 3pm EST. Luca de la Torre has been impressing and seeing his minutes increase. There are rumors he could be in line for his first La Liga start.
- Championship-leading Burnley hosting sixth place West Brom at 3pm EST. West Brom has been surging lately largely because of Daryl Dike. He's certainly one to watch.
- Mark McKenzie and Genk vist Eupen at 2:45pm EST. Genk is the runaway leaders in Belgium and McKenzie is in the midst of a breakout season as Genk has a seven point lead on Union SG (who could be losing one of their best players to the New York Red Bulls).
- In Portugal, Arouca host Portimonense. Benji Michel will look to make his second appearance with Arouca after his move from Orlando City earlier in the month. Michel, 25, had a positive debut where he drew the equalizing penalty in a 1-1 draw with Chaves last weekend. Also in Portugal, Alex Mendez and Vizela visit Sporting CP although it is unclear if Mendez will play.