January windows open in Europe: Will there be another big MLS transfer?

Miguel Almiron - Newcastle United - February 7, 2019

With the change in the calendar comes the opening of transfer windows around the world and based on recent years there are likely to be some MLS players in the crosshairs.  

Before delving into some of the recent MLS-to-Europe moves in January, here are some of the key dates to keep in mind for transfer windows across the continent:

  • England, France, Germany: Jan. 1 to Jan. 31
  • Italy, Spain: Jan. 2 to Jan. 31
  • Portugal: Jan. 3 to Feb. 2
  • Turkey: Jan. 4 to Jan. 31
  • Russia: Jan. 22 to Feb. 21

As those windows ramp up, here’s a look back at some of the most-prominent outgoing January transfers in MLS:

Miguel Almiron: Atlanta United to Newcastle United (2019)

January windows open in Europe: Will there be another big MLS transfer? -

Miguel Almiron has immediately become a top attacking threat for Newcastle United | Reuters/Action Images

After two star-studded years with Atlanta United, Miguel Almiron moved to Premier League side Newcastle United last January for a reported $27 million. That set an MLS record for an outgoing transfer, and the Paraguay attacking midfielder has since become an integral part of the Magpies’ setup – both under former manager Rafael Benitez and current boss Steve Bruce.

He only has one goal and one assist through 29 appearances, but will prove vital should they again stave off relegation and remain in England’s top flight.

Chris Richards: FC Dallas to Bayern Munich (2019)

The relationship between FC Dallas and Bayern Munich is quite close, and last January it resulted in US youth national team defender Chris Richards moving to the Bundesliga side for a reported $1.25 million fee.

Richards, 19, is originally from Alabama and had signed a Homegrown Player deal with Dallas before heading overseas. The center back prospect has mainly featured for FC Bayern Munich II in the 3. Liga, though he was an integral part of the US Under-20s last summer as they earned a third straight FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinal appearance. 

Alphonso Davies: Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich (2019)

January windows open in Europe: Will there be another big MLS transfer? -

Alphonso Davies, far right, celebrates scoring a goal for Bayern Munich | Reuters/Action Images

Alphonso Davies, the face of Canada's men’s national team, officially moved to Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich in January 2019, though the $22 million deal was agreed to months before.

A Homegrown Player for the Vancouver Whitecaps, Davies has since become an important part of Bayern’s XI, especially in Champions League play. To date, the 19-year-old has two goals and four assists for the Bavarian side, and the left-footed speedster’s best days surely lie ahead.

Tyler Adams: New York Red Bulls to RB Leipzig (2019)

A meteoric three-year rise resulted in Adams’s eventual move from the New York Red Bulls to RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga for $3 million.

The US men’s national team midfielder has since dealt with a gauntlet of injuries, with his 2019-20 season debut only coming on Dec. 21 against FC Augsburg. As Adams returns to fitness and form, his journey from a Homegrown prospect to essential USMNT piece can’t be understated.

Jack Harrison: New York City FC to Manchester City (2018)

After two encouraging seasons with New York City FC, Harrison moved to sister club Manchester City in January 2018 for a reported $6 million.

The winger, who was the No. 1 overall SuperDraft selection in 2016 out of Wake Forest, even broke into England’s U-21s.

Harrison, 23, has yet to feature for Man City, but has spent the last two seasons on loan at Middlesbrough and Leeds United in the Championship. He’s currently a key starter for Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds as they seek promotion to the top flight.

Cyle Larin: Orlando City SC to Besiktas (2018)

January windows open in Europe: Will there be another big MLS transfer? -

Cyle Larin's time at Besiktas had some stops and starts | Reuters

A prolonged transfer saga in January 2018 gave way to Larin moving from Orlando City to Turkish side Besiktas for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Larin, picked No. 1 overall in the 2015 SuperDraft by the Lions, shined in MLS with 43 goals and six assists through 87 appearances.

The 24-year-old striker’s Super Lig spell has entailed frustrations, and he’s now on loan at Belgian side Zulte Waregem, seeking to reinvigorate his Canada men’s national team career.

Fabian Castillo: FC Dallas to Trabzonspor (2017)

After Castillo was initially loaned from FC Dallas to Trabzonspor in August 2016, the Turkish club exercised their purchase option on the Colombian winger in January 2017. It brought a bizarre transfer saga to a close, though Castillo’s European stint concluded in 2018. That’s when Castillo, now 27, went to Mexico, first with Liga MX side Club Tijuana and now Queretaro.

Over a six-year stint with FCD, Castillo registered 34 goals and 30 assists across 159 appearances.

Matt Miazga: New York Red Bulls to Chelsea (2016)

January windows open in Europe: Will there be another big MLS transfer? -

Matt Miazga remains on loan from Chelsea | Reuters/Action Images

Back in January 2016, Premier League giants Chelsea acquired then-New York Red Bulls center back Matt Miazga, beginning a winding European spell for the US men’s national team defender.

Miazga has only made two appearances for Chelsea, and has instead spent time on loan at Vitesse (Holland), Nantes (France) and Reading (England). He remains with Reading after helping them avoid relegation in 2018-19.

Jermaine Defoe: Toronto FC to Sunderland (2015)

Stretching the recency element of this story, Defoe moved from Toronto FC to Sunderland during January 2015.

He spent the 2014 campaign with the Reds, leading to an 11-goal, two-assist return through 19 matches. Defoe, now 37, is still an effective striker who’s on loan from Bournemouth at Scottish powerhouse Rangers.

The forward’s time in The Six represented his only stop outside of the United Kingdom, and it predated the Reds’ rise with Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley as Designated Players.