The next step of the cycle is key as MLS teams embrace selling

It's been a quite a few days for MLS teams as some impressive talent has been sold for impressive numbers. But this should only be the start of a non-stop cycle that can grow the league. 
BY Posted
January 31, 2019
4:05 AM
BACK IN DECEMBER when Don Garber said he wanted MLS to be more of a selling league, it was up for debate as to whether or not he meant it. As January closes, the actions from MLS teams have backed up the commissioner’s words as a stunning amount of talent has been sold abroad this offseason.

While some of the most popular players in the league have left, the door is now open to promote players from within or go and buy more players from abroad.

Look at the talent that has now been sold recently.

Miguel Almiron to Newcastle
Luciano Acosta reportedly to Paris St. Germain
Sebastian Giovinco to Al-Hilal
Tyler Adams to RB Leipzig
Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich
Yoshi Yotun to Cruz Azul
Alejandro Silva to Club Olimpia
Zack Steffen to Manchester City

And to top this off, Adams and Davies are already off to fast starts in the Bundesliga and Jack Harrison is helping Leeds United in a season where it looks highly likely it will earn promotion to the Premier League. Following his loan to NYCFC, Yangel Herrera has walked into the starting lineup at Huesca in La Liga – which futher adds evidence that success in MLS can quickly translate to success in the top European leagues.

For most of the players who left the league, their value has increased significantly as a result of their time playing for MLS teams. And that opens up huge doors of potential revenue for MLS teams.

But with selling, comes the next step of the cycle. Many MLS teams will have to buy carefully or promote players from within. Can Cristian Casseres replace Tyler Adams in the Red Bull’s midfield. Can Keaton Parks replace Herrera? How will the youth products at FC Dallas do? Will the expensive import of Pity Martinez rise to the level of Almiron?

There is no doubt that the agents for top South American talent have taken notice and attracting talent from South America shouldn’t be hard with tangible evidence that the league can be a valuable career stepping stone and a showcase league.

And while the league should continue to import from talent-rich South America, promoting from within should also be a major goal. The recent transfers of Davies and Adams were massively important because both were locally developed players and are now on Bundesliga teams.

This will be key as MLS will aim to stop top prospects from leaving its academies for free and instead provide them within a pathway to the top leagues in the world that includes a few first team seasons in MLS. Adams and Davies have shown that pathway is very possible but it will require other teams to find ways to not just play their young players, but also teach them how to be successful at the first-team level.

Everything that has happened in recent months has been great for MLS and its teams. But it is only the start of a cycle that shouldn’t stop. And it’s a cycle that really can grow the league faster than any previous steps of buying veteran players at the tail end of their careers.

So which players will be next to fill the void? Who will be bought? Who will be promoted? Will their value increase? These are exciting times.

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