Yanks on the Move: Yedlin, Pulisic, Miazga, Zelalem
August 25, 2016
AMERICAN PLAYERS in Europe are making the rounds of late. DeAndre Yedlin’s move to Newcastle was the biggest shift but this past week was also busy for young players trying to start their careers.
There is still plenty of time left in the window and plenty of more moves could be in store for what could turn out to be a busy period for American players. Here's a look at what has transpired and what to watch for in the days ahead.
Yedlin joins Newcastle
Tottenham and U.S. men's national team right back DeAndre Yedlin was sold to Newcastle United this week, sending the former Seattle Sounder down to the English Championship.
Yedlin, 23, makes this move on the heels of a very good loan to Sunderland where he emerged as a regular starter during a very difficult but successful relegation battle. The Seattle native proved he could play in a high-pressure environment and exceeded expectations to the point where Sunderland wanted to bring him back but could not come to terms with Tottenham.
Now Yedlin will be heading to Sunderland’s rival in the northeast of England, Newcastle, a club that was relegated out of the Premier League last year. As with Sunderland, this is a high-risk, high-reward opportunity. The $6.6 million price tag Newcastle paid for Yedlin indicates that the club sees him as a valuable commodity.
Newcastle is a big and highly dysfunctional club that has been relegated twice this decade. It's a tough place to play, but if Yedlin can play a role in helping the club return to the top, it will be no small accomplishment. He should get his chances but helping this club will be difficult.
Sabbi signs with Las Palmas
Yet another American youngster moved to Europe as U-20 forward Emmanuel Sabbi, 18, signed with Las Palmas of Spain’s La Liga. When announcing the deal, the club indicated that Sabbi will play for the reserve team.
I am very happy to announce that I have officially signed with UD Las Palmas in La Liga. Highly blessed!???????? pic.twitter.com/sRK528Eq7h— Star Sabbi ?? (@EmmanuelAMSabbi) August 23, 2016
Sabbi has been a regular with Tab Ramos on the U-20 team and should be part of World Cup qualifying in February. His competition for playing time on the team at the center forward position is Jeremy Ebobisse from Duke who is also trying to land a club in Europe right now.
Sabbi is very athletic but also raw—which is to be expected given his age. He was initially set to start his collegiate career this fall at Akron but will instead turn professional. Las Palmas is a good team that is coming off an 11th-place finish last season so it would seem that Sabbi is probably not expected to make a push for the first team this season. He has shown a big upside over the past year but to make it in Europe he will need to show maturity, respond to coaching, and be mentally strong.
Vom Steeg heads to Fortuna Dusseldorf
U.S. U-19 goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg decided to leave UC Santa Barbara this week to sign with 2.Bundesliga club Fortuna Dusseldorf on a one-year deal. Vom Steeg was a regular starter last season with UCSB where his father, Tim Vom Steeg, was the head coach.
This move is questionable as Vom Steeg was impressive in his freshman year but will now head to Germany on a short-term deal where playing time will be hard to come by. In playing for the U.S. youth national teams and in college, he had opportunities to impress pro teams and await multiple offers. You have to wonder what the long-term thinking is when taking a one-year deal without a good chance at playing time.
Pulisic on the market?
Christian Pulisic earned a lot of headlines in earlier this year when he burst onto the scene with the first team at Borussia Dortmund. That earned him a spot on the U.S. national team for the Copa America Centenario. This summer, Dortmund went on a spending spree and competition within the squad will likely limig the 17-year-old's playing time.
There have been reports that Dortmund had been shopping Pulisic, 17, for loan opportunities but that is very tricky because without an option to buy, he can only go to a club where he can be an immediate impact player and is better than existing options. Otherwise, there is no incentive to play him since the club who takes him on loan is not invested in his development.
On Wednesday, German publication Bild reported that Premier League club Stoke City made a whopping €20 million bid for Pulisic.
Stoke is not known for playing attractive soccer but that kind of bid for a 17-year-old is one people are used to hearing about a Brazilian prospect. It seems far-fetched but there is likely no short list of suitors for Pulisic. Still, it would take quite an offer for Dortmund to agree to part ways with the teenager.
Zelalem and Miazga...?
Two American players who are most likely to be loaned in the days ahead are Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem and Chelsea’s Matt Miazga. Chelsea have a pretty straightforward business practice of buying players and loaning them out and Miazga would seem to be a strong candidate to leave given the players in front of him. There have been rumors of Leeds and 1860 Munich getting involved but each have been denied. Still, the level seems about right.
As for Gedion Zelalem, there have not been many rumors although he is also in a tricky position of trying to break into a very deep Arsenal midfield at a young age. Last year’s loan to Rangers was positive despite his dealing with injuries in the second half of the season. Like Miazga, this next week could be be an important and revealing time of his career.