Biggest transfer priority for all 29 MLS clubs to begin 2024


The calendar has flipped to 2024 and the MLS transfer world is about to reach another level or two.

With front offices hard at work preparing their rosters for the slate ahead, let's identify one big area of need. Clubs' checklists vary in length, of course, but this should give a sense of what awaits.

Time is ticking – the regular season begins Feb. 21!

Center back: Atlanta look to be planning for a post-Miles Robinson future. Even if the USMNT veteran returns after exploring free agency, they’d benefit from some backline reinforcements.

Striker & fullback: They’ve only got Gyasi Zardes in the No. 9 spot and are perilously thin at left/right back. Let’s see what sporting director Rodolfo Borrell has up his sleeve.

Winger: I’ve got a lot of Kerwin Vargas stock entering 2024. But there’s too much uncertainty or unknowns around other options as head coach Dean Smith gets settled in.

DP striker: The club’s publicly stated their intent here, though the rumor mill’s been quiet. Whoever comes through, the Fire desperately need a 15+ goalscorer-type to complement Xherdan Shaqiri, Brian Gutiérrez, Chris Mueller, etc.

Center back: This blurb changes tune quickly if the Álvaro Barreal and Brandon Vazquez transfer rumors turn into concrete deals. But we know there’s a hole at center back as Yerson Mosquera (at least for now) returns to Wolves after his season-long loan.

Colorado Rapids logo
Colorado Rapids

Goalkeeper: Remember those Zack Steffen rumors from a few weeks back? Let’s see if they pick up steam or fizzle out now that Europe’s January transfer window is underway.

Right wingback: It’s really hard to pinpoint a position of need on Columbus’ MLS Cup-winning roster. But with Julian Gressel walking in free agency, they need some depth behind Mo Farsi.

FC Dallas logo
FC Dallas

Center back: The depth chart has a few blank spots after Sebastien Ibeagha and Nkosi Tafari. Also, FC Dallas might have solved their striker depth issue by taking Logan Farrington (Duncan McGuire 2.0?) in the SuperDraft.

D.C. United logo
D.C. United

Central midfield: It’s mainly been one in (Gabriel Pirani transfer from Santos) and one out (Chris Durkin traded to St. Louis) for D.C. United in this department. Still, they need a couple more guys – and a head coach!

Houston Dynamo FC logo
Houston Dynamo FC

Striker: Corey Baird is a free agent. TBD if Sebastián Ferreira has a future in H-Town. Aliyu Ibrahim can play there, but is it his best position? Thor Úlfarsson is a solid depth guy, but maybe just that? Houston have work to do.

Carlos Vela: LAFC have already made one big swing this offseason, landing legendary French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Still no word if their own club legend (Vela) is back for 2024, a decision that has a big ripple effect on the rest of the roster (DP spots, cap space, forward depth chart, etc.).

Striker, winger & right back: It’s nigh impossible to pinpoint just one position since the Galaxy have so many holes to fill. Yet as we see it, GM Will Kuntz has three main buckets to fill now that Chicharito, Douglas Costa and Calegari are all gone.

Inter Miami CF logo
Inter Miami CF

Another one of Messi’s friends?: Jokes aside, center back and d-mid jump off the page. With a full schedule and a steady flow of transfer rumors, expect some movement in the weeks ahead.

Minnesota United FC logo
Minnesota United FC

Defense: Depth at center back and a starting left back are glaring needs, specifically. Minnesota could stand to add a striker behind Teemu Pukki, too.

Head coach: Montréal completed some shrewd business in December, acquiring wingbacks Raheem Edwards (from LA Galaxy) and Ruan (from D.C. United) within MLS. But they’re still without a head coach just weeks before preseason begins.

Nashville SC logo
Nashville SC

Mystery box: Nashville have already filled their biggest needs via the trade market, acquiring Tyler Boyd and Dru Yearwood after Dax McCarty and Fafà Picault left. That’s a winger and center-mid, for those keeping track at home.

Goalkeeper: The Revs are reportedly signing Henrich Ravas, a Slovak international who plays in the Polish first division. If that goes through, maybe he joins their “goalkeeper factory” that’s already sent Matt Turner and Djordje Petrovic to the Premier League.

New York City FC logo
New York City FC

Striker: Mounsef Bakrar is readying for his first full season after joining NYCFC last July, but options feel thin beyond him. This is all predicated on keeping Talles Magno at winger, of course.

New York Red Bulls logo
New York Red Bulls

Center back: You could probably toss center-mid and striker here as well, but there’s a clear need behind Sean Nealis and Andrés Reyes. Maybe one or two signings to align with head coach Sandro Schwarz?

Orlando City SC logo
Orlando City SC

Center back: With Antônio Carlos transferred to Fluminense in his native Brazil, Orlando need to find a replacement. They’ve reportedly got their Mauricio Pereyra replacement through the door, i.e. Nico Lodeiro joining in free agency.

Philadelphia Union logo
Philadelphia Union

Left back: This exists in the world where Kai Wagner walks in free agency, either to another MLS team or back to Europe. There are some internal options, sure, but it won’t be easy to replace his attacking skill set (5g/39a in 138 games).

Portland Timbers logo
Portland Timbers

Attacking DPs: As the Phil Neville era begins, they’ve got two spots open – a byproduct of declining Jaroslaw Niezgoda’s contract option and transferring Yimmi Chara to Colombia’s Atlético Junior. Striker and winger are priority 1a and 1b.

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

Final-third starters: They’re reportedly transferring Jefferson Savarino to Botago in Brazil, while Rubio Rubin is linked with a Liga MX move. And captain Damir Kreilach has departed for Vancouver. Add it all up and RSL need to add some firepower.

No. 10: Jamiro Monteiro is now a free agent and was so-so as San Jose’s playmaker, tallying just 5g/12a in 59 games. With that open DP spot, will they swing big?

DP winger: In one of MLS’ worst-kept secrets, the Sounders are reportedly on the verge of formally acquiring Pedro de la Vega, an Argentine youth international who plays for Lanús, as their third DP. After that, striker and center back depth come to mind.

Sporting Kansas City logo
Sporting Kansas City

No. 10: SKC’s midfield trio of Nemanja Radoja, Erik Thommy and Remi Walter is really solid. But Gadi Kinda’s gone back to the Israeli Premier League, a move that opened a DP spot and created a vacuum.

Winger: There’s no glaring need on St. Louis’ roster, at least at the surface level. But after trading Jared Stroud to D.C. United, their winger group took a hit. Additions thus far include midfielder Chris Durkin and right back Tomas Totland.

Toronto FC logo
Toronto FC

Central midfield & center back: These two spots are huge needs for Toronto as their John Herdman era truly gets underway. They need 1) bodies and 2) players of quality.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Right wingback: Will that reported DP deal for Richie Laryea get over the line? If so, the Whitecaps’ biggest area of need is solved. There's not much else beyond that.