The January 2022 transfer window was a historic one for MLS exports. More on that in the coming days. But of course there were a few more surprises on the European deadline day, even when we were focused elsewhere.
In a month that saw Ricardo Pepi, Daryl Dike, Tajon Buchanan, Kevin Paredes and more move from MLS to Europe (and a bunch to South America, too), deadline day wasn't a final crescendo. But it certainly wasn't boring.
There were a few deals that went official and there were a few we've tracked all month that simply never materialized. With the windows in Europe shut, let's recap the day.
Since winning MLS Cup 2021 on Dec. 11, it looked certain that last year's Golden Boot presented by Audi winner would be transferred before the start of the 2022 season. But as European windows closed Monday evening, Castellanos remains an NYCFC player.
The Brazilian (April 12) and Argentine (Feb. 19) transfer windows remain open, though. NYCFC rejected a $12.5 million bid from Palmeiras previously this winter, while River Plate were linked with a move for Castellanos this week. On Monday, ESPN's Jeff Carlisle reported Brazilian side Internacional have entered the race as well. Taty Watch isn't over.
Still, it seemed like Castellanos was destined for a move to Europe this winter.
"I think he is a guy who will do the next step in Europe," Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said after MLS Cup. "What I saw when the scouting department talked to me, I know he's a quality player and ready to make the next step to Europe and we will see where."
Castellanos is in preseason camp with his NYCFC teammates. If he does indeed stick around until at least the summer, typically a more active market for European clubs, NYCFC will have a full squad when Concacaf Champions League competition begins in two weeks.
Seemingly out of nowhere, as MLS fans were awaiting an official announcement on New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, English Premier League side Arsenal acquired a different player from the league: Colorado Rapids center back Auston Trusty.
Trusty will join Arsenal in the summer. Arsenal and the Rapids are both owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, it should be quickly noted.
“There’s certainly a lot of interest in Auston," Rapids EVP & GM Padraig Smith told media two weeks ago. "He is obviously away with the national team at the moment, but I certainly would hope he would be with us through this window. He’s going to be a big part of our Champions League group. We’ll have to see where it goes. As with all these young players, if the right offer comes along, we’ll have to evaluate it along with them and see if it makes sense for all parties at that time.”
Well, that wasn't necessarily false! Trusty will stick around until the summer (July 17, to be exact) and be a focal point during both Colorado's Concacaf Champions League run and first half of the 2022 MLS season.
Trusty, 23, was a constant for Colorado as they finished first in the Western Conference standings last year, starting 33 of their 34 games. They acquired center back Aboubacar Keita earlier this winter from the Columbus Crew, ostensibly as a replacement for Trusty.
There were no official announcements from the New England Revolution nor Arsenal regarding Matt Turner on Monday.
But fear not: With Arsenal's move for Matt Turner already agreed upon for the summer, there was no guarantee (or necessity) of an announcement today.
As reported earlier this week by ESPN's Taylor Twellman and sources confirmed to MLSsoccer.com, Arsenal and New England have reached an agreement over a summertime transfer for Turner. The deal will be around $6 million up-front and incentives that increase the total fee to under $10 million. Arsenal wanted him now, but New England pushed for a summer deal to have more time to sort a replacement.
Turner, 27, was the 2021 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after backstopping a record-setting Supporters’ Shield season. He is currently with the US men's national team for World Cup qualifying, starting both matches of this window and expected to start the third on Wednesday against Honduras.
Arsenal are currently sixth in the EPL table and have England national team goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale as their starter. German national team goalkeeper Bernd Leno has served as the Gunners’ backup in 2021-22, though he's been linked with an outbound move. He is widely reported to be leaving in the summer when Turner arrives.
George Bello's transfer from Atlanta United to German Bundesliga side Armenia Bielefeld went official on deadline day after Belgium's Cercle Brugge attempted to seal a deal earlier over the weekend. But the USMNT left back pushed for Bielefeld.
Bello, 20, joined Atlanta as a homegrown player for the 2018 season. He’s logged three goals and four assists across 52 games (47 starts), seizing the Five Stripes’ starting left-back role in 2020. He's also a rising USMNT player, earning six caps since debuting last year. He’s featured in two Concacaf World Cup qualifiers this cycle, plus started the USMNT’s Gold Cup final win over Mexico last summer.
Bielefeld sit just two points above the relegation zone... a spot occupied by Ricardo Pepi's FC Augsburg. Bielefeld are level on points with Kevin Paredes' Wolfsburg. There's growing American interest in the German Bundesliga relegation fight.
A few days ago, reports broke that several Premier League clubs were circling for Chicago Fire FC and USMNT goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, potentially angling to make offers before Europe's deadline passed.
As the window closes, that interest didn't amount to real, official offers to Chicago.
A deal this month was always unlikely for the 17-year-old homegrown goalkeeper. It would have required a huge bid and a loan back to the Fire, with the summer a much more likely market for Slonina. There is plenty of time. And plenty of teams have him on their radar.
Slonina signed his first professional contract at 14 years old and became Chicago's starter in 2021, making 11 appearances and keeping four clean sheets for a team near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
He is currently with the USMNT for World Cup qualifying, his second senior camp. He's yet to make his senior debut, but it shouldn't be long before that arrives.
Yeferson Soteldo's lone season in MLS has officially come to an end, with the Venezuelan forward joining Mexican giants Tigres UANL. The Liga MX transfer window deadline is also today.
Soteldo, 24, made 26 all-competition appearances for Toronto with four goals and 10 assists last campaign. He spent under a year with the Reds after being signed from Brazil’s Santos FC. The talented winger didn't quite shine his best in MLS, as Toronto severely underperformed expectations in 2021.
As part of the deal to send Soteldo to Mexico, Tigres sent center back Carlos Salcedo to Toronto.