It’s early. European seasons are wrapping up, but we’ve got an idea of which US men’s national team pool players might be on the move this summer.
Not all will transfer, obviously. More information will become clear over the coming weeks and months, too, so we’ll call this an early primer.
Enough qualifiers, huh?
Moving on up
MLSsoccer.com has been reporting for months that Leeds United were leading the chase for RB Salzburg’s Brenden Aaronson, with multiple bids submitted (and rejected) in January as Salzburg were going to keep all key players until the summer and sell then.
That’s still where we’re at. Leeds are still favorites, but Premier League relegation is threatening. If they’re relegated, Aaronson will go elsewhere and he won’t be short on suitors. Leeds wanted him under Marcelo Bielsa and that hasn’t changed under current boss Jesse Marsch, who was Aaronson’s manager at Salzburg for six months. Leeds’ bidding got up to around $25 million in the winter, but Salzburg held resolutely.
Aaronson just clinched his second Austrian league title in as many seasons with Salzburg, with 4g/5a in 24 league appearances, while Salzburg advanced to the Champions League Round of 16.
The Philadelphia Union will get a cut of the next fee, tiered between 10% and 20%. Aaronson’s decision to move to Salzburg 18 months ago has been nothing short of a resounding success.
De la Torre was one of the emerging players during Concacaf World Cup qualifying for the USMNT, working his way onto the roster and then onto the field with great impact. Now, the 23-year-old could be set to climb the club ladder again.
He joined Dutch club Heracles Almelo in the summer of 2020 from Fulham and has been a constant. They have been a midtable team in the Netherlands over the past few years, so perhaps one of the top three in the country will make a move for him.
This is kind of a grey area in the sense that Slonina won’t be leaving this summer even if a deal is agreed upon. I’d be shocked if any potential transfer didn’t have at least a six-month loan back to the Chicago Fire.
In fact, Chelsea’s talks to acquire Slonina in the winter would have come with a two-year loan back. The 17-year-old is the first-choice 'keeper in Chicago, which is great for his development. Goalies this young rarely start like this. He’s special.
A ton of European clubs want him, which may accelerate talks and a deal potentially being agreed upon this summer to get it sorted with a loan back. One to keep an eye on, for sure.
Big club issues
Tyler Adams has featured regularly for RB Leipzig but still hasn’t locked down a starting spot. He’s started only 12 of the club’s 33 Bundesliga games this season. Leipzig continue to invest in young talent and have a deep squad.
Would Leipzig let Adams go for a reasonable price? Would Adams be looking for a new challenge?
Leeds will be interested if they stay up, given the connection to Marsch (who gave Adams his MLS debut at New York) and his natural fit in the Premier League, but Adams is a player who has been in the UEFA Champions League the last few years. Maybe a team in the CL or Europa League would sway his mind.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Sergino Dest at Barcelona. He’s seemingly been in and out of the dog house as the team struggled. He’s been in and out of transfer reports – the latest of which came last month, suggesting he could be used in a deal with Bayern to get Robert Lewandowski to Spain.
Where does he stand now, this summer? To be determined.
Dest, 21, joined Barcelona in 2020 and has made 72 appearances. Former superstar player and club legend Xavi took over as manager this winter, but Dest has struggled to find the field due to a few minor injuries.
Like Dest, there’s been some ups and downs to Pulisic's time at Chelsea. He won a Champions League and has produced in big moments… but has also spent time playing wingback and coming in from the bench in Chelsea’s opulent attack. There have been reports that he might be leaving this summer.
Nothing definitive yet, of course, but one to keep an eye on. An American bought the club this month, which might change the math here in the summer.
Pulisic, 23, joined Chelsea from Dortmund in 2019 for a reported $70 million, the most expensive American player of all time.
Under Jose Mourinho during the first half of the season, Bryan Reynolds made one start (in a 6-1 UEFA Conference League loss) and played just one minute in Serie A.
Predictably, he went on loan in the winter, heading to Belgium’s Kortrijk, where he’s been a regular starter, including eight of the last nine games.
Reynolds is more than likely set for another move this summer; my guess would be another loan rather than a permanent move. He’s still young – it’s easy to forget he’s only 20. He had half a season as a starter for FC Dallas before a big-money move to Roma. Another loan is fine if that’s what it’ll be.
Relegated… stay and play or move again?
Venezia aren’t mathematically relegated just yet, but it’s time to start planning for life in Serie B. I think Busio and his Venezia teammate Tanner Tessmann might be in different situations, hence splitting them here.
Up first, Busio. Venezia’s club-record signing landed at the American-owned club last summer. Does it make sense for him to remain in Serie B? He turns 20 this month, so he’s still young and maybe that wouldn’t be the worst thing. But with an Italian passport and 29 top-flight appearances, there’ll be teams interested.
Outside of Italy, the likes of Club Brugge, Sporting CP and others wanted the Sporting KC homegrown product. This is a space to watch in the summer.
Tessmann, meanwhile, has played under 700 minutes in Serie A this year with just six starts. Maybe a season in the second tier – provided he will be a regular starter – might make more sense than another move to his third club in three years at this stage of his young career.
Keep an eye on…
Djordje Mihailovic has been playing at a Best XI clip in MLS for the last 14 months. This isn’t just a blip of form, he’s leveled up.
There haven’t been any real, reputable reports about his future. But at this age (23) and performance, would it surprise anyone if a bid came in? Also, he went on a training stint with Serie A’s Bologna, also owned by Joey Saputo, in the winter.
Already announced he’s gone
Auston Trusty’s future is (temporarily) set with a move to Arsenal coming in July, but the English club has already announced he’ll be loaned out elsewhere. So, where to?
Trusty, 23, has made more than 100 appearances in MLS with Philadelphia and the Colorado Rapids.
It’s a pivotal few months for John Brooks. With Miles Robinson’s injury, will he get another shot with the national team? More on-topic in this space, though, Wolfsburg have already announced the defender will depart the club this summer when his contract expires.
Brooks, 29, has been at Wolfsburg for five seasons after being acquired from Hertha. He has made 145 appearances, including 30 this season. One would imagine a number of German clubs would look into signing the Bundesliga-proven center back.
Need more minutes… maybe MLS?
Moore hasn’t been a regular starter, but has been a very useful squad player for CD Tenerife in their bid for promotion from the Spanish second tier to La Liga. That’s a tough spot – the player probably wants more minutes (eight starts in 39 games so far), but the team views him as an important depth piece.
Interest from MLS teams came in the winter, but Tenerife wanted to hold onto him as they chase promotion. They have three games, all but guaranteed to be in the promotion playoff. But this summer? All parties reassess.
Nashville are in for Moore. He’d make a snug fit at right wingback under Gary Smith.
Staying in Spain, rising USMNT forward Matthew Hoppe has really struggled for minutes after moving to Mallorca from Schalke. He has one La Liga start and has played 39 league minutes since September.
Meanwhile, Schalke just earned promotion back to the Bundesliga this season.
Mallorca wanted all hands on deck for the relegation fight. They’ve dipped below the line again with three games left.
Atlanta tried to sign Hoppe this summer. He’s a good candidate for any team with an open U22 Initiative slot (like Atlanta), so his transfer fee won’t count against the cap.
Staying in Spain once more with the team currently last in La Liga, Matt Miazga hasn’t featured much in Deportivo Alaves’ difficult season. He has appeared in one game since January.
He’s on loan from Chelsea. He’ll need to find yet another new home this summer.
Miazga is on the Allocation List due to his transfer from the Red Bulls to Chelsea, meaning if any MLS club tries to sign him, they would need to get to the No. 1 spot in the order.
FC Cincinnati are currently top of the Allocation Order when they could have traded out for more allocation money multiple times, for what it’s worth. Whether that’s because they want to sign someone on the list or think they can maximize their GAM intake remains to be seen.
How about a successful loan story? Cameron Carter-Vickers has been a constant at Celtic on loan from Tottenham en route to winning the Scottish title.
Celtic are among a bunch of teams trying to sign the 24-year-old permanently this summer. He’ll be on the move as he looks to break into the USMNT roster.
I’m honestly quite surprised he’s still at Boavista. I thought for sure he was gone in the summer, both parties wanted this, but a move to England collapsed at the deadline. I thought for sure he’d not only be gone in the winter, but a deal ready for Jan 1… and that didn’t happen.
So, who knows. Cannon has made 55 appearances with the club since arriving from FC Dallas.