US men's national team midfielder Gianluca Busio has a relegation release clause in his contract with Venezia FC in which he can leave on a free loan this summer, sources tell MLSsoccer.com.
Venezia finished bottom of Italy's Serie A in the 2021-22 season, four points from safety, and will spend next season in Serie B. While the major European leagues only just ended last weekend, Busio is already getting plenty of interest from clubs across Serie A, the Bundesliga, La Liga and elsewhere, sources say.
With the clause being a free loan, sources expect Busio to move this summer, but nothing is definite just yet. The new club would have to cover 100% of his salary. Busio, a Sporting Kansas City homegrown product, signed a three-year contract with Venezia as part of his club-record transfer to the Italian club last summer.
Busio, who turns 20 this week, made 29 Serie A appearances, including 23 starts in his first European campaign. Before heading to Europe, Busio broke through Sporting KC's academy and into their first team in August 2017, putting up eight goals and nine assists in 70 appearances across all competitions by his 19th birthday.
This time last year, a number of European clubs hoped to sign Busio, including the likes of Club Brugge (Belgium), Sassuolo (Italy), Sporting CP (Portugal) and others before Venezia sealed a deal worth $6 million up front with incentives to take the deal to $10.5 million.
He's been capped nine times by the USMNT, playing a key role on their Gold Cup 2021-winning side. He also featured in two World Cup qualifiers and is contending to make manager Gregg Berhalter's Qatar 2022 squad later this fall.
Busio isn't the only American at Venezia. Former FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann also arrived last summer, as did Philadelphia Union attacker Jack de Vries (on loan). Both are also MLS homegrown products.
Tessmann could stay at Venezia. He was a key squad player, but not a regular starter in Serie A. Pending whoever the club appoints as a new coach and their plan for Tessmann, it would make sense for him to stay as a key starter, sources say. Obviously, that situation is fluid and Tessmann would not be short of options if the new coaching staff chooses to go in a different direction.
As for de Vries: Venezia are finalizing a deal to acquire him on a permanent basis from the Philadelphia Union, per sources. De Vries was on loan with Venezia since last summer. The 20-year-old US youth international made one first-team appearance in the Italian Cup, though lit up the U-19 league with 14 goals and six assists in 22 appearances.
Another American youth international is at Venezia as well: One-time New England Revolution academy player Patrick Leal. The 19-year-old USYNT midfielder made his first-team debut on the final day of the Serie A season and is expected to remain with the first team next season.