0125-transfer-notebook

I’m sorry to anyone who has my tweet notifications turned on because, well, there’s been a lot of tweets.

Here’s the latest I’m hearing in the wide world of MLS transfers…

Red Bulls near deal for DP striker

The New York Red Bulls have finally reached an agreement with Belgian Pro League club Union SG over the transfer of Belgian striker Dante Vanzeir, sources told MLSsoccer.com. The deal is in the final steps now. Vanzeir would be a Designated Player.

The deal will be worth north of $5 million, per a source. The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio says the exact fee is $5.3 million plus add-ons which, if triggered, would make Vanzeir RBNY’s new club-record signing.

Vanzeir, 24, has 48 goals and 21 assists in 91 appearances with Union SG, even earning one cap with the Belgian national team.

The hard-working forward can play through the center or out wide, where his dynamic off-ball movement make him a constant goal threat. Vanzeir can score in a variety of ways, as evidenced by his consistent goal record in Belgium.

The Red Bulls have overhauled their striker group this offseason. After a short loan last fall, a deal was reached to sign Elias Manoel on a permanent transfer (from Brazil's Gremio) while Cory Burke was added in free agency. Winger Lewis Morgan, who led the team in goals (14) after a career year, signed a new contract as well. Brazilian attacker Luquinhas, last winter’s top import, remains too.

Patryk Klimala’s future was already destined to be away from the Red Bulls, after failing to make a significant impact following a $4 million transfer from Celtic in 2021, but the likely Vanzier signing further seals that fate. The club has been working to move their Polish DP striker most of the winter, including some preliminary trade talks with other MLS clubs earlier this offseason, but no exit deal is imminent yet.

Colorado Rapids flurry of moves continue with three new deals

The Colorado Rapids have had a busy few weeks, with a deal to sign Irish midfielder Connor Ronan (from Wolves) already announced and three more signings likely coming soon.

As previously reported, Colorado are finalizing deals to sign center back Andreas Maxsø from Brøndy, goalkeeper Patrick Pentz from Reims and left back Alex Gersbach from Grenoble.

If all three get done as expected, the Rapids will have added eight new players this offseason as they reset the group following a disappointing, injury-riddled 2022 season. Their goals were to replenish depth and competition while getting younger and faster.

Maxsø, 28, made more than 100 appearances with both Brøndy and Nordsjaelland, wearing the captain’s armband at both clubs. He’s a significant addition at center back and a potential defensive anchor. Other MLS clubs were interested in a deal, but the Rapids got it done. Maxsø’s contract expired this summer.

Pentz, 26, spent the majority of his career with FK Austria Wien before moving to Reims, where he made only six appearances. He has four caps with the Austrian national team. William Yarbrough had been the Rapids’ starter in recent years and Pentz will look to challenge for the No. 1 spot.

Gersbach, 25, made 54 Ligue 2 appearances and has six caps with the Australian national team, though wasn’t part of the World Cup setup. He adds another option at left back following Lucas Esteves’ departure.

Colorado had already added forwards Kévin Cabral (trade with LA Galaxy) and Calvin Harris (trade with FC Cincinnati) while Cole Bassett was recalled from loan in the Netherlands. With Jack Price, Braian Galván and Aboubacar Keita all back from injury, the club will have a new look in 2023.

Minnesota United agree deal for Mexican center back

Minnesota United FC have agreed on a deal to sign Mexican center back Miguel Tapias when his contract expires in the summer, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. Minnesota remain in talks with Pachuca about signing Tapias immediately, but nothing is agreed upon yet.

Tapias, 26, has made 72 appearances with Pachuca in Mexico’s top flight. A left-footed center back, Tapias would add to Minnesota’s group.

The Loons have made defensive additions already this winter, including MLS veterans Doneil Henry and Zarek Valentin as well as younger players like Mikael Marques and Ryen Jiba.

Star center back Bakaye Dibassy suffered a long-term injury near the end of the 2022 season, but is on a good path in rehab as he works to get ready for 2023.

Atlanta are in talks for Celtic striker, but so are Urawa Reds

Atlanta United are in talks with Celtic over Greek international striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, a source confirms to MLSsoccer.com, but no deal has been reached. Fabrizio Romano first reported the talks and added that Japanese club Urawa Reds are also leading contenders to sign the prolific goal scorer.

Giakoumakis, 28, has eight goals and one assist in 802 minutes for Celtic this year, though has been allowed to leave for better playing time elsewhere. He had 26 goals and one assist in 30 Dutch Eredivisie league appearances during the 2020-21 season for VVV-Venlo.

A deal is likely to be a loan with a purchase option that would automatically trigger if certain performance-based incentives hit. Such a structure without an upfront transfer fee aids Atlanta’s pursuit as the club revamps the squad this winter.

Former Columbus Crew winger Derrick Etienne Jr. is so far Atlanta’s most significant incoming move, as the club have been focused on clearing cap space and transitioning to a new era. The likes of Josef Martínez, Marcelino Moreno, Alan Franco, Dom Dwyer and George Campbell have all left so far this winter.

Orlando to add Icelandic midfielder

Orlando City SC's busy offseason has one more lever to pull, as the club are finalizing a deal to sign Icelandic midfielder Dagur Dan Thórhallsson from Breidablik, sources confirm. Romano first reported the talks.

Thórhallsson, 22, has four caps with the Icelandic national team. The versatile, box-to-box central midfielder has 11 goals and seven assists with Breidablik.

The midfielder would be the latest addition for Orlando in a hugely busy offseason. The club have added winger Martín Ojeda, left back Rafael Santos and more already. They've also re-signed key out-of-contract starters Mauricio Pereyra and Pedro Gallese.

For more on Orlando’s offseason, MLSsoccer.com dove deep on the topic this week.