That’s the million-dollar question after it emerged Monday Luis Suarez says he has "five or six offers" from MLS teams upon leaving Atletico Madrid, making the Uruguay national team star a free agent five months before the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Accordingly, the Extratime crew tossed out some possible MLS destinations for the 35-year-old striker, who’s expressed a desire to join a team capable of making an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs run to potentially stay playing through November, when La Celeste and their all-time leading scorer head to the Middle East for Group H play.
Supporters' Shield frontrunners?
One scenario, co-host Andrew Wiebe said, involves Austin FC. The second-year club is firmly in the Supporters’ Shield race and could offload outcast forward Cecilio Dominguez to open the Designated Player spot Suarez would likely command. Dominguez (since reinstated) hasn’t played since late March following a league investigation into possible off-field misconduct.
“If you could move off Cecilio, you just got a winger,” Wiebe said, referencing Washington Corozo’s recent arrival. “I love Maxi Urruti with all my arrow-slinging heart, but [Sebastian] Driussi and Suarez?”
As enticing as that partnership would be, pace-setting LAFC were kicked around as another possibility. They have an open DP spot, and have already brought in Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini this summer on Targeted Allocation Money deals. But the Black & Gold would also face a logjam in the No. 9 role, and Cristian Arango, the 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year, has a strong 21 goals and four assists in 36 games (28 starts) since arriving last summer from Colombia.
“I don’t think they’re going to make that move for somebody of [Suarez’s] age,” said co-host David Gass. “It sounds like they would move Arango for a DP center forward who will be the future of the team for five, six years.”
The best MLS landing spots for Luis Suarez
New York Derby?
Heading to the Eastern Conference, what about both sides of the New York Derby? Wiebe floated Suarez coming to defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC, especially should 2021 Golden Boot presented by Audi winner Taty Castellanos indeed head overseas amid his stated $15 million price tag. Like all other clubs, the DP/TAM gymnastics would be complicated.
“If they move Taty, Talles Magno is the perfect complementary piece,” Wiebe said. “You just get a year or two of Luis Suarez on that small field, eating people alive. Ball bouncing around, who’s going to know where it ends up more than Luis? It’s going to be him. I say New York City could be a good one.”
As for the New York Red Bulls, they have an open DP spot and haven’t gotten consistent production from their striker corps this year. But Suarez would also represent a departure from their typical player profile, harkening back to the early-to-mid 2010s days of bringing in big names like Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Rafa Marquez.
“He’s one of the best pressing forwards of all time,” co-host Matt Doyle said. “It would be an incredible fit, but it says everything there is to say about the Red Bulls that we’re talking about it like there’s zero possibility. It’s more likely he ends up at RSL.”
One other option, which Wiebe jokingly called a “sick MLS fever dream,” could be Nashville SC. Doyle said it’d require Nashville to cut ties with their club-record signing, but there’d be the upside of a dynamic partnership with Hany Mukhtar.
“The obvious thing here is Nashville buys out Ake Loba and puts Luis Suarez into that spot,” Doyle said. “Of teams above the playoff line, of teams that could very easily open a slot, that seems like the one to me.”
Of course, the list doesn’t stop there. Suarez has been linked to Inter Miami CF in years past, he’s close with Seattle Sounders FC midfielder and fellow countryman Nicolas Lodeiro, and The Washington Post’s Steven Goff has written there’s interest from D.C. United as Wayne Rooney becomes their head coach.
Now, over the next couple of weeks and with the Secondary Transfer Window carrying through Aug. 4, we’ll see if the reports and speculation bear fruit or not.
For more Extratime analysis, check out their latest episode here.