CHICAGO – FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday that he could move to Europe this summer, adding fuel to FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo’s recent comments that he expects the 22-year-old US international to head overseas “in the next 12 months.”
Acosta has been the subject of periodic transfer rumors for the better part of the last year. His profile has risen tremendously since the start of the 2016 season, when he helped lead FCD to the Supporters’ Shield and US Open Cup titles.
The MLS All-Star has become a key part of the USMNT in 2017, earning call-ups for all four of their World Cup qualifiers this year, going the full 90 in the 1-1 draw at Mexico in June and starting four of six matches en route to the team’s recent Gold Cup title.
He said on Sunday that if he does move to Europe, he’d like to do it in the current transfer window.
“Any window is a possibility,” he said. “Ideally if I were to move, I would want to move during this window because this is the preseason for them rather than the winter when I’m winding down my season as well as jumping in the middle of their season. So I mean, ideally, now would be the time, but when the time comes, the time comes.”
With the World Cup looming next summer, it’d make more sense for Acosta to move now than next January. Heading to Europe is an adjustment for any MLS player, and arriving at a new club while they’re in the middle of their season would likely only make things more complicated. Arriving in summer when European teams are in preseason often makes for a smoother transition, and would allow Acosta more time to earn minutes with a new club before Bruce Arena names a potential World Cup roster.
His preferred timeline does seem to be at odds with Clavijo’s, however. The FCD technical director told FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio in mid-July that he’d like to get through the current MLS season before potentially selling Acosta in January.
“When I say we, the ownership, the players, all of us need to figure out what is the right thing to do right now, depending on the time,” he said. “We’re so close to December, and we can have everything in place, win a championship and then make a transfer. We prefer to go into the transfer window in January and not July, because it jeopardizes the rest of the team. But we have to be ready to cover that decision.”
While they’d prefer to wait until winter to make any sales, FC Dallas did send a high-profile player to Europe last summer. After a protracted, controversial transfer saga, the club loaned winger Fabian Castillo to Turkish club Trabzonspor last September before making the move permanent in January. Dallas won the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield after Castillo’s departure, but were undone in the playoffs after midfielder Mauro Diaz tore his Achilles in the penultimate match of the regular season.
Europe is clearly somewhat on his mind, but Acosta said he’s focused on keeping things simple and returning to form with FCD and in Wednesday’s All-Star Game against Real Madrid (8:30 pm ET; FS1 and Univision in the US | TSN and TVA Sports in Canada) after not “perform[ing] like [he] wanted to” and wanting “to impress too much” in the Gold Cup.
“I know there have been teams interested, but I’m just trying to keep my head down, buckle down and work hard,” he said. “Obviously that’s my dream to play in Europe. I don’t know when that will be, but hopefully when the time comes I’ll be ready. Right now I’m just focused on doing well with FC Dallas and kind of just going from there.
“We’re still in the transfer window now, I mean anything can happen. So right now I’m just trying to do well. I’m here at the All-Star Game, there’s going to be some eyes there, so I just need to play my game, do what I do every week with FC Dallas and do a little bit better than I did with the national team. I just want to continue progressing and when the time comes, just make a decision then.”