TUKWILA, Wash. – Where in the world is DeAndre Yedlin?
The 21-year-old Seattle Sounders star was nowhere to be found at the team’s training session on Friday, amidst a whirlwind of transfer rumors that have surrounded him since a strong showing in the 2014 World Cup. Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer and head coach Sigi Schmid then confirmed what most expected, telling reporters that Yedlin is currently meeting with a European club interested in securing his services.
“DeAndre is overseas,” Hanauer said. “Obviously we’re not going to give out a lot of detail. … Certainly something we’re working toward is a potential transaction.”
Hanauer didn’t divulge which European team Yedlin is meeting with, saying only that it was a “big club," although recent reports have linked him English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. Goal.com reported on Friday that Yedlin flew to London on Thursday night to undergo a physical, and that the two sides were finalizing a deal.
Hanauer, however, said any transaction involving Yedlin would keep him in Seattle at least through the rest of the MLS season.
“This will be a deal where he won’t be immediately transferred and then loaned back,” Hanauer said. “It will be a deal that is constructed in a way that potentially he would be here through the end of the year, potentially longer.”
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ESPN anaylst and former Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller told Goal.com earlier this week that he has his reservations about the move, saying "Spurs are a team that has the money, and they are always looking for a bargain, but it's a tough place to go."
Added Keller: "I'm not sure DeAndre would even qualify for a work permit. He's never started a game for the national team, [England] is a tough place to get a work permit. My guess would be that if Tottenham is in the race, it would be to sign DeAndre and loan him out somewhere."
Work permits have slowed down moves for MLSers in the past, most notably for Juan Agudelo, who was denied a permit when he was signed by Stoke City in 2013.
Players outside of the European Union are required to have played 75 percent of competitive matches for their national team in the past two years, and their national team must be ranked in the top 70 in the world in FIFA’s rankings.
Rumors linking Yedlin to overseas clubs started almost immediately following his return from the World Cup, with teams including AS Roma and Liverpool being mentioned as potential landing spots. But Tottenham seem to have emerged as the front-runner in recent days, and Spurs got a first-hand look at Yedlin during a friendly against the Sounders in Seattle on July 19.
In the meantime, Yedlin is expected to be on the field for Seattle’s Sunday night match-up against the Houston Dynamo (10:30 pm ET; ESPN2).
“We expect DeAndre to be back Sunday and for the rest of the season,” Hanauer said.