The MLS Secondary Transfer Window will close on Thursday (Aug. 5), but there are still plenty of deals to finalize.
Let's get right into what you should be watching for.
Thiago Almada to Atlanta?
Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra teased that Atlanta are looking to make an impactful addition before the window closes. How about a reported $15 million deal for one of South America’s brightest young talents?
Atlanta United are on the verge of signing Argentine attacker Thiago Almade from Velez Sarsfield, according to South American journalist Cesar Luis Merlo. The 20-year-old has 20 goals and seven assists in 80 appearances for Velez across all competitions and was just with the Argentine Olympic team alongside Atlanta’s Ezequiel Barco, who was acquired for a similar fee by Atlanta a few years ago.
It’d be quite the boost for a struggling Atlanta side, though it’s unclear exactly how he’d fit on the roster. He’d be age-eligible to be a U-22 Initiative signing, though given the transfer fee, he may sign a contract too opulent to be registered under that category. They currently have all three Designated Player spots filled, though perhaps Alan Franco’s deal could be bought down with allocation money to free up that third spot, much like Marcelino Moreno’s was to sign Franco in the first place.
Matheus Davo to Philadelphia
With Jesus Bueno officially signed, the Union aren’t done adding to the squad. As reported by MLSsoccer.com last week, Philadelphia are finalizing the acquisition of Brazilian forward Matheus Davo from Corinthians.
Davo would arrive on loan until the end of the year via a nominal fee, and the Union hold a purchase option as part of the deal. The 21-year-old can play numerous positions, though Philadelphia see him as a second forward. He had two goals and three assists in 1,000 minutes in Brazil’s Serie B this year while on loan with Guarani FC.
The attacker will give Jim Curtin another option to shuffle the starting XI. Since he's played on the wing in Brazil, that presents a natural option to feature opposite Ilsinho when the super-sub enters the game and takes up real estate on his preferred right wing.
Dejan Joveljic to the Galaxy
Joveljic, 21, spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Wolfsberger AC in Austria, making 46 appearances across all competitions and scoring 20 goals. He joined Frankfurt in 2019 and has recorded one goal in 10 appearances for the German club, though spent much of his time away on loan, including part of the 2019-20 season with Belgian side Anderlecht.
The forward can help alleviate the Galaxy's reliance on Chicharito, who has been putting in MVP-caliber performances but is currently out injured.
Joveljic has played through the center fairly exclusively in his young career, ditto for Chicharito. Greg Vanney has mainly preferred a 4-3-3 system during his time as manager. How will he integrate Joveljic into the team with a healthy Chicharito?
It looks like Sporting KC will be active during the final days of the Secondary Transfer Window.
SKC are set to be without Gianluca Busio (more on him below) as their wunderkind departs for Italy. They'll have to fill his minutes and influence, as the versatile academy product started every game before he joined the United States for this summer's Gold Cup. He's spent most of his time as a No. 6, though has featured as a box-to-box and attacking midfielder, as well as a false nine. Their midfield group is deep, though perhaps they're looking for another body there.
This feels a bit too vague to count as actual insight, but typically the trade market boils in the last few days of the Secondary Transfer Window.
It makes sense: Adding a piece within MLS for the season's stretch run can be more palatable since they need no time to adapt to the league, and in a complicated pandemic world now, no worries about visas and travel, which has delayed many debuts this year. Moussa Djitte, signed by Austin FC from a French club on June 30, is yet to be available to debut with travel complications.
The moves often haven't been too large. We probably already had our biggest trades of the window, with Mark-Anthony Kaye heading to the Colorado Rapids and Corey Baird to Houston Dynamo FC, both from LAFC. In 2019, the last "normal" mid-season window, starting-caliber players like Christian Ramirez, Derrick Ettienne, Felipe and Kelyn Rowe were all on the move during the window's final days.
Things were slower in 2020, but that's easily explained by how the window closed about a week before the end of the season. At the time of writing, no MLS team has played more than half their games in 2021. There's plenty of time for acquisitions to make their mark.
While we're here, we might as well peruse a few other big stories that aren't dependant on Thursday's deadline day, right?
Atlanta United's head coaching search
Things appear to be moving at a faster pace than last year when Atlanta parted ways with Frank de Boer and didn't appoint a full-time replacement until the offseason.
Atlanta's contract offer was reportedly turned down by former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, and they've reportedly since reached out to the Seattle Sounders to request permission to interview Gonzalo Pineda, the club's popular and well-respected assistant. Both developments were provided by The Athletic.
Pineda interviewed for D.C. United's managerial vacancy this past offseason.
Has Jamiro Monteiro played his final game for Philadelphia?
Jamiro Monteiro, the Union's only DP, could be on his way out of the club.
Monteiro was absent from Philly's matchday squad in their 1-1 draw with Chicago Fire FC last weekend, with head coach Jim Curtin revealing after the match that the midfielder was being held out as he underwent transfer talks. Sources told MLSsoccer.com that discord had been brewing with the parties for a bit, while Jonathan Tannenwald of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that family considerations amid the COVID-19 pandemic are factoring in. Travel restrictions have made visits and time together difficult to arrange.
As Philly prepare to face Toronto FC on Wednesday, Monteiro remains away from the team.
Monteiro’s agent told Nick Fishman of the Philly Soccer Page that European sides Anderlecht and Feyenoord are among the possible destinations, while a Brazilian club and Western Conference MLS team also have interest.
Busio, Vines deals to become official
These moves have gotten a ton of spotlight over the last month or so, but after winning the Gold Cup with the USMNT, they can put the finishing touches on their moves to Europe. Per sources, each will soon be in Europe for their medicals
Announcements from the overseas clubs, as well as MLS sides Sporting KC and Colorado, shouldn't be too far away.
Daryl Dike news ... maybe?
This one cooled off quickly, didn't it? A transfer that once seemed like a foregone conclusion amid Dike scoring at will during his loan to Championship side Barnsley has gone quiet over the last six weeks or so.
Most reports of interest and offers have revolved around English teams, so there's still time. Their transfer window closes at the end of August, re-aligning with the rest of Europe after a short dalliance with closing a day before the new season starts.
For now, the 21-year-old will return to Orlando City after helping the USMNT win the Gold Cup on Sunday.
Further interest and offers for Tajon Buchanan
With Busio's future sorted and a bit of a lull around Dike at the moment, the next transfer target to keep an eye on will be Tajon Buchanan.
The rising Canadian international, winner of the Gold Cup's Young Player Award, has plenty of suitors. MLSsoccer.com reported RC Lens have had multiple bids rejected, while TSN has reported Sporting CP and others remain highly interested.
Sources say the Revolution are intent on keeping him through the end of the season, meaning negotiations may drag on or there will be an agreement reached now that includes a loan-back clause. Sources also expect Buchanan to move for a fee similar to that of Busio, which will be $5 million upfront with incentives to $10.5 million, according to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.