Transfer Tracker

Columbus Crew acquire Julian Gressel from Vancouver Whitecaps

Julian Gressel - VAN trade


  • CLB receive: Julian Gressel
  • VAN receive: Up to $850k GAM

The Columbus Crew have made a major addition via the MLS trade market, announcing Friday they’ve acquired midfielder/defender Julian Gressel from Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

In exchange for the German-born US international, Columbus will send Vancouver up to $850,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). There is $550k in GAM split evenly across this season and next season, plus an additional $300k in GAM (2024-26 seasons) based on conditional terms.

The trade sees Gressel join his fourth MLS team after previous stops at Atlanta United (2017-19), D.C. United (2020-22) and Vancouver (2022-23). Often regarded as one of MLS’s top crossers, he arrives with 24 goals and 65 assists in 202 regular-season games (181 starts). He's won five trophies during his MLS career, too.

Gressel, since making his international debut last January, has made six appearances for the USMNT. He committed to the program after becoming a US citizen.

“Throughout his career, Julian has been a versatile, dangerous player with a strong ability to create goals and assists, which has helped his clubs win championships and led him to the US men’s national team,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a release.

“As we continue to push toward becoming a consistent contender in the East, we are constantly evaluating opportunities to strengthen our roster, and adding a player of Julian’s caliber and character to our dynamic attack will be impactful as we enter Leagues Cup and the final stretch of the regular season.”

Gressel, 29, could be a fantastic fit for the Crew at right wingback in head coach Wilfried Nancy’s preferred formation. In the final third, he’ll look to feed an attack that’s led by Cucho Hernández, Lucas Zelarayán and Christian Ramírez – figureheads behind Columbus being the league’s highest-scoring team (45 goals) at the Leagues Cup break.

While in Vancouver, Gressel transitioned to a midfield role in 2023. His eight goal contributions (3g/5a) this season were the third-most on Vanni Sartini’s Whitecaps team, trailing only Brian White and Ryan Gauld.

"Julian has been a consummate professional during his time here in Vancouver; we wish him and his family all the very best in their next chapter,” said Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster. “Although Julian and his family enjoyed their time here, ultimately they decided that in the long term they wanted to be closer to family and friends. For that reason, we were unable to come to an agreement on an extension.

“Our next step was to explore the best solution for all parties for both the short and long term, as this is the final window we can make this transfer. This week, we received a very good offer from Columbus, consulted Julian and moved forward."

With two-thirds of the 2023 MLS season completed, Columbus (sixth in Eastern Conference) and Vancouver (seventh in Western Conference) are both on track to make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Should either club pursue additional moves, the Secondary Transfer Window remains open until Aug. 2.