UPDATE (Jan. 31): FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp confirmed the deal for Jurgen Locadia is "almost there," according to reporter Laurel Pfahler.
From Gerard Nijkamp: “Almost there with Locadia. Have a good feeling about it.” Noted he is always positive but was willing to share that at least. #fccincy— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) January 31, 2020
Nijkamp also dropped this nugget to local reporters. "And working on a second signing and close also."
TRANSFER TRACKER: Reports
FC Cincinnati could be close to landing a key attacking player, according to reports on both sides of the Atlantic that emerged on Thursday afternoon.
Cincinnati Soccer Talk first reported that a deal for Dutch forward Jurgen Locadia "is near completion," citing sources. Very shortly after that, Rik Elfrink of Eindhovens Dagblad also reported that FCC was interested in signing Locadia, though whether it was a loan or permanent transfer remained to be seen.
FC Cincinatti wil voormalig PSV'er Jürgen Locadia - al dan niet tijdelijk - overnemen van Brighton, dat hem al had verhuurd aan Hoffenheim. Later meer.— Rik Elfrink (@RikElfrink) January 30, 2020
Locadia, 26, is currently on loan to Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim, from the Premier League's Brighton and Hove Albion. He's tallied four goals and an assist over 526 Bundesliga minutes with Hoffenheim, but has found playing time harder to come by recently, having not started a game since Nov. 30, a run of six league games on the bench. Before the player could join Cincy, Brighton and Hoffenheim would have to reach an agreement to end the player's current loan. [Update: Hoffenheim announced the end of Locadia's loan on Friday afternoon.]
The Dutchman originally joined Brighton from PSV Eindhoven in January 2018 for a reported £15 million transfer fee. He scored one goal in six games during the second half of the 2017-18 season. During the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, Locadia scored two goals to go along with another two he scored in FA Cup play. With PSV, he scored 45 goals and added 34 assists in 127 appearances since turning pro with the club in 2011, helping the them to a pair of Eredivisie titles and a cup win during his time there.
At the international level, Locadia logged extensive time with the Netherlands' youth national teams across every age group from the U-17s to U-21s, but has not been able to break into the senior side.
Whether it's Locadia or someone else, it's clear that Cincinnati are looking for some more attacking help ahead of their second MLS campaign to go with newly-signed Designated Player Yuya Kubo. Head coach Ron Jans stated in a Thursday press conference that he wasn't happy with his team's level of finishing, despite a 3-0 preseason win over Phoenix Rising on Wednesday.
“As you see in the match yesterday, (finishing) might be a problem,” Jans said “The players agree, we should have scored five times with the chances we had. In the other hand, we created so many chances. The opponent wasn’t MLS, but they were not so bad. I was satisfied with the chances, but not the execution.”
Jans also hinted that a few signings could be announced in the "coming days," but did not go any further into potential transfers, citing that as general manager Gerard Nijkamp's prerogative. He did say, however, that one of the forwards from the club's 2019 roster, Darren Mattocks, was not in his plans.
Nijkamp's son, Jan Watze, did tease a potential new signing for the club on Twitter Thursday, and Locadia would fit the parameters he laid out:
Yes, done deal the next forward player from a top 5 league in Europe is coming to #Fccincinnati Announcement soon!!— Janwatze nijkamp (@janwatzenijkamp) January 30, 2020