UPDATE, April 19 — Atlanta United chief scout Jonathan Spector is in Spain to watch Mallorca as the club continues to push for a deal to sign US men's national team forward Matthew Hoppe, a source tells MLSsoccer.com.
Mallorca hosted Alaves Tuesday in a key match in La Liga's relegation battle, winning 2-1. Hoppe was an unused substitute.
Hoppe, 21, would be a U22 Initiative signing if they can reach a deal and Atlanta are aiming for a permanent transfer. Any deal won't be easy with Mallorca in danger of heading down to LaLiga 2. MLS's Primary Transfer Window closes on May 4, and Mallorca have four league games after that date.
They currently sit in 16th place, just three points ahead of the relegation zone, but have played one more game than the three teams chasing them.
Hoppe joined Mallorca for a reported $4 million last summer after breaking out with German club Schalke, but has struggled to find any playing time in Spain. Hoppe has played just 127 minutes in La Liga all season and only 38 minutes since September.
The forward, who can play through the center or on the wing, had six goals and an assist in 22 Bundesliga appearances in 2020-21 as Schalke got relegated. Hoppe was previously with the Barca Academy in Arizona before heading to Germany.
Atlanta have an open U22 Initiative slot after forward Erik Lopez departed this winter on loan to Argentine Primera División side Banfield.
The Athletic's Paul Tenorio and Felipe Cardenas first reported Atlanta's interest over the weekend.
ORIGINAL, April 17 — Atlanta United and another unnamed MLS team are interested in signing US men’s national team forward Matthew Hoppe, according to a joint report from Paul Tenorio and Felipe Cardenas of The Athletic.
Hoppe, 21, is currently at relegation-threatened La Liga side Mallorca, which he joined last summer for a reported near-$4 million transfer fee after departing then-German Bundesliga side Schalke.
But playing time has been hard to come by in Spain for Hoppe, who has one assist across four league appearances. In contrast, he had six goals and one assist in 25 matches for Schalke last season as they went down to the 2. Bundesliga.
Hoppe’s USMNT chances before Qatar 2022 would certainly benefit from increased playing time, though, after he played a key role on last summer’s Gold Cup-winning squad by scoring his sole international goal in the 1-0 quarterfinal win over Jamaica. His six caps also include a substitute appearance in last October’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Costa Rica.
As for a possible fit in Atlanta, the one-time LA Galaxy academy player would give them another final-third threat alongside the likes of attacking midfielders Luiz Araujo, Marcelino Moreno and Thiago Almada. There’s also the matter of striker Josef Martinez’s health after a recent knee surgery on the same knee he tore his ACL in 2020.
The MLS Primary Transfer Window lasts through May 4, while the Secondary Transfer Window runs from July 7 to Aug. 4.