Brenden Aaronson - Philadelphia Union - tight shot
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Eight stories to watch in final month of the transfer window | Tom Bogert

Hear that? It's the timer of the transfer window ticking down.

The Secondary Transfer Window will shut on October 29, but there are plenty of potential transfers to track, both incoming and outgoing across Major League Soccer. Here are eight to keep an eye on.

Brenden Aaronson to Salzburg?

As MLSsoccer.com reported last week, the Philadelphia Union and RB Salzburg reached a verbal agreement over the transfer of Brenden Aaronson. It's still one to follow as we await official announcement once the final steps are complete.

Aaronson, 19, broke into the Union first team in 2019 and has been a constant in the starting XI this year. He has seven goals and five assists in over 42 MLS regular-season appearances and earned his first call-up to US men's national team last October.

RB Salzburg is one of Austria's biggest clubs and is coached by American Jesse Marsch. The former New York Red Bulls manager guided Salzburg to their seventh consecutive league title last year, as well as their second consecutive Austrian Cup triumph. It was his first season in charge. This week they clinched their berth in the UEFA Champions League. 

Houston's Alberth Elis replacement

The Alberth Elis transfer saga seemed to be an evergreen storyline for a few seasons now, but it reached a definite conclusion with his transfer to Boavista earlier this month. Dynamo GM Matt Jordan called Elis one of the most influential players in the club's history, but now they're looking forward. 

Jordan also promised a replacement this window. The club have been heavily linked with Argentine attacker Mateo Bajamich, with the latest reports suggesting the deal is done

Bajamich, 21, scored nine goals in 29 appearances in the Argentine second tier and was reportedly a target for English club Sunderland. Reports have pegged the fee at $1.2 million for 80% of his rights. 

Houston are still deep in attack even without Elis, with the likes of Mauro Manotas, Darwin Quintero, Christian Ramirez, Ariel Lassiter and others leading the lines. 

Whitecaps' chase for a third DP

The Whitecaps are languishing below the playoff line as the season shifts to the stretch run and still have every chance to make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, but that won't impact their decision-making in filling their final DP slot. 

That DP slot was opened up by the transfer of Inbeom Hwang to Rubin Kazan for a $3 million transfer fee, plus 25% of the midfielder's next transfer. 

“The market is very interesting right now, prices are down," sporting director and CEO Axel Schuster said after the transfer. "We are in a very good position. We have the (DP) spot. We have the financial possibilities but we are not in a rush.”

It's never easy to execute a big transfer anyway, but now they face the added hurdles of acquiring players during a global pandemic anyway, in which delays in visas acquisitions plus quarantine periods add more time between a completed deal and debut than normal. Plus, the Whitecaps have the added headache of being a Canadian team, thus another set of quarantining rules and borders to cross.

Schuster said the club are seeking an attack-minded midfielder who will add regular goal contributions. He also has promised this offseason won't be as busy as last winter, in which the club made a whopping 12 additions. That makes the club's decision on this final DP slot all the more important. 

FC Cincinnati and the No. 1 allocation spot

I wrote in depth about this last week, which I'd encourage you to check out but here's a quick TL;DR anyway:

  • Cincy hold the No. 1 Allocation Order ranking, which is a valuable asset, but circumstances may be unkind to them.
  • It's worth around $400,000 allocation money, based on recent trades. Only problem is that they need a player from the list to sign in MLS.
  • Cincy have considered both adding a player and trading the spot. A handful of teams have called Cincy with potential interest in acquiring it, and a few trades have even gotten close, only to fall through.
  • The most-discussed players on the Allocation List with regards to a potential move to MLS are DeAndre Yedlin, Kemar Lawrence and Fabian Johnson, but there are huge hurdles with each of those players.
  • As reported by MLSsoccer.com on Friday, Yedlin has been in talks with multiple MLS clubs, but The Athletic's Paul Tenorio reported this week that it's "likely" he remains with Newcastle. The situation is fluid.
  • Johnson remains without a club, though reports on his future have gone cold since about July.
  • MLSsoccer.com learned that while there is interest in Lawrence from MLS, he won't be coming back from Anderlecht this window. Things could change, perhaps, but that's where his situation is at the moment.
  • The Allocation Order resets after the season. When it resets, it goes in reverse order of the previous season's Supporters' Shield standings and playoff finishes. Expansion teams jump to the top of the order, too, so Austin FC will have the top slot when they enter MLS in 2021. Cincy would have the No. 4 slot in 2021 if the season ended today.

NYCFC content at forward without Heber?

Last week NYCFC's fears were confirmed: Heber's season was done after a torn ACL. 

The Brazilian hadn't had the same kind of success as his debut season in MLS, with a goal and two assists in 12 appearances (11 starts), but MLSsoccer.com's Charles Boehm reckons the injury could have a similar impact on NYCFC as Josef Martinez's absence for Atlanta United. 

It also leaves NYCFC thin behind Taty Castellanos up top. They don't have another natural center forward behind the Argentine. Will they look to add another attacker before the window closes?

Castellanos is the obvious starter now, though he has also struggled in 2020, currently without a goal or assist in 627 minutes. If he should be unavailable or out of form, the club could turn to Maxi Moralez as a false nine or play one of their wingers through the center. 

Ezequiel Barco and Diego Rossi's future

Let's just lump these together because there isn't a ton of smoke around either at the moment.

Both highly talented, young South Americans have been linked with no shortage of European suitors. Barco was most recently reported to be a target for Sevilla. There haven't been any team directly linked with Rossi recently but LAFC EVP & GM John Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com in August that "there have been concrete [transfer] offers for multiple players."

At some point, these players will be headed to Europe. The question is when. 

Rossi, 22, is among the candidates for Landon Donovan 2020 MLS MVP this season, exploding for 11 goals and two assists over 14 matches thus far. He has been a big time contributor since his MLS debut, with 12G/9A in 2018 then 16G/7A for LAFC's historic attack in 2019. 

Barco, 21, hasn't had quite the productive time in MLS as Rossi but his talent and potential is tantalizing. He has two goals and three assists for Atlanta over 10 appearances (eight starts) in 2020. 

It is also worth noting here that the transfer window for leagues in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France closes on Oct. 5, meaning clubs in those countries would have to move by then to sign a player under contract, though the window runs later in other European countries.

Is Mason Toye available at the right price?

Update: Oct. 1, 5 pm ET— Welp, it looks like Mason Toye was very available at the right price.

The Montreal Impact acquired the US youth national team forward in exchange for $600,000 GAM and a 2021 second-round draft pick, ending Toye's time in Minnesota. 

Loons head coach Adrian Heath indicated that Toye expressed his desire if an opportunity presented itself in which he could play more, he'd want to pursue it. The Impact were one of "quite a few" teams interested in trading for him. 

“Mason has been a bit frustrated of late," Heath told reporters on a virtual press conference Thursday. "As most people should think as strikers, he thought he should be the No. 1 starting forward for us. We had a slight difference of opinion on that."

Original: Oct. 1, 9 am ET— Minnesota United added forward Kei Kamara from the Colorado Rapids and immediately put him in the starting XI for his debut against Columbus Crew SC. Then he started again four days later against Real Salt Lake. Rising forward Mason Toye has been an unused sub in those two games, while forward Luis Amarilla — who has largely started over Toye whenever he's been fit — should be back from his ankle injury soon. Aaron Schoenfeld is fit again. 

The Loons may soon suddenly have a glut of center forwards. Is Toye available for the right price? 

Toye, 21, broke out in 2019 with six goals and three assists across 820 regular season minutes but has failed to get a regular spot in the Minnesota starting XI in 2020. 

Extratime debated this topic, including their top landing spots for him. 

LAFC's defense

Much has been made of LAFC's defensive struggles in 2020 without 2019 Best XI honoree Walker Zimmerman, not to forget Steven Beitashour either. (Veteran defender Danilo Silva, who made one appearance in 2020, also recently retired.) The club have brought in right back Andy Najar as well as Cameroonian youth international center Mohamed Traore this year, but each have only started one game. 

Could the club be in the market for another addition? LAFC do have one senior roster slot available now that Silva has retired.

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