The current transfer window has already seen a number of MLS players scooped up by foreign clubs on big-money moves, and chances are that these outside shoppers are just getting started.
We're still less than halfway through January, and young aces Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie have already gone out the door in Philly. Juventus target Bryan Reynolds of FC Dallasshould follow them to Europe soon enough. It should come as no surprise because as Major League Soccer grows in stature, it also grows as a talent-hunting ground for the world's best clubs.
This trend, of course, begs one question that likely has multiple answers: Who else will be making a 2021 exit to the Old World? Right on cue, we have a list of the likeliest transfer targets for your inspection.
And even though we have a hearty dozen lined up below, folks best leave some room for a handful of honorable mentions who could also soon find themselves the subject of earnest transfer chases: Tajon Buchanan, Caden Clark, Cade Cowell, Kyle Duncan, Ricardo Pepi, Miles Robinson and Eryk Williamson.
If weekend tabloid blurbs out of England are to be believed, Tottenham have nudged their way in front of Juventus and other continental admirers with an offer for the LA Galaxy right-sider. That may not be true, but one could easily see Araujo snapped up by one big European club or another at some point in 2020.
This is a weird one. I can't say I've seen reports linking the LAFC midfield general with any specific suitor. And yet, with all things considered, Atuesta might just be the most attractive potential target in MLS. I'll be officially surprised if he is still employed at the Banc this time next year.
What Atlanta United Ezequiel Barco needs to do to be the man | Top Tier
Yes, it's true the transfer spotlight on Barco effectively vanished as his play waned after a hot start to 2020. It matters not. The Atlanta United playmaker is on more than enough watch lists that he'll quickly become a top target with any form revival. It's worth noting that he seems of particular interest to habitual Europa League champs Sevilla.
After reportedly being the subject of a Freiburg bid last summer, the Colorado hotshot is now supposedly an apple in the eye for Nantes. With a wealth of promise to be a difference-maker at 19, I don't doubt it for a second. Odds are he is not long for these shores.
Armchair Analyst: Is George Bello the next USMNT Star? | Top Tier
As with Atuesta, there isn't much public chatter surrounding the young Atlanta United left back. I suspect this is misleading and there is plenty of down-low heat around Bello. He has a ton of talent and the fact he's now getting US call-ups may compel some hidden suitor(s) to press the transfer issue while the crowd around him is relatively small/static.
Sporting Kansas City's Gianluca Busio goal vs. San Jose | Enhanced Highlight
On the other hand, there is the Sporting KC midfielder, who has been openly linked to a variety of name brand European clubs for what seems like ages. The latest European giant outed as crushing on the 18-year-old talent? None other than Barcelona. Sooner or later, one of his fans is going to name the right price.
Daryl Dike's superb rookie season with Orlando City SC | Goal Driven pres. by Audi
After just one season in MLS, the Orlando City striker has already turned heads abroad. Dike is a 20-year-old force of nature with a delicate finishing touch, so what's not to like? I'm guessing the spotlight around him grows in 2021.
As long as Jaroslaw Niezgoda is rehabbing his surgically-repaired left ACL, the chance of Portland letting go of the guy who has led them in scoring two years running seems rather slim. However, the summer window will be here before we know it and things might look a lot different. The Timbers are already trying to make Felipe Mora's loan deal a permanent transfer, while Ebobisse has reportedly drawn furtive glances from the likes of Anderlecht, Heerenveen and Olympiacos in recent months.
We all had to know this day would eventually arrive. Morris spurned a move to Werder Bremen out of college, preferring instead to become a hometown boy made good for the Sounders. Now, he's admitted that 1) multiple clubs have dialed up Seattle to make inquiries about his availability & 2) he's open to packing up for the right destination. That second one presumably means his MLS days are numbered.
Like a certain LAFC/Uruguay teammate we're about to mention, Rodriguez has basically been rumored to be headed toward an exit almost since he planted his boots in MLS. The young winger was linked with AC Milan, Benfica, Cagliari, Napoli, Sampdoria and Torino in 2020, so any hot spell this coming season could draw offers.
AT&T 2020 Young Player of the Year
Quoth Britta Perry from the dearly departed TV show Community: Duh-doy! Frankly, I'm stunned Rossi is still wearing LAFC colors. If he's sporting them when 2022 begins, I'll be positively gob-smacked.
You do the math. Tessmann admitted to fielding plenty of European interest before signing with FC Dallas. He's now purportedly set to go train with Bayern Munich following his January national team involvement. He's a physically and tactically mature at 19. Honestly, it's a wonder he still gets his soccer mail in Frisco.