There’s been a buzz the last few months about the possibility of DeAndre Yedlin’s next stop being Major League Soccer and, naturally, which club would make the most sense for the Newcastle United right back?
There are factors to consider, of course: The Allocation order (of which, FC Cincinnati are atop), potentially a Designated Player opening or at least a boatload of available Targeted Allocation Money and the player’s consideration, which to this point is unknown.
Yedlin’s contract with Newcastle United expires at the end of this season, which means he’d be on a free transfer come the Secondary Transfer Window this summer.
Also, there will likely be other European suitors for a player who is still just 27 years old, has been a regular starter in the Premier League and has more than 50 caps for his national team.
Greg Seltzer had a go at projecting his MLS landing spot back in September and it became a talking point for the Extratime crew as well.
Here’s the teams mentioned and the arguments made for (and against).
First the pros: As indicated above, FC Cincy have the top Allocation Ranking Order spot and they splashed some General Allocation Money to land Costa Rican international Ronald Matarrita on the left side with Jaap Stam apparently favoring wing backs in his formation.
“If you had Yedlin on the right, good Lord that would be fun,” Andrew Wiebe said.
David Gass, though, poured cold water on that possibility, citing there are more pressing needs for a big-money move.
“They need to solidify the spine of their team and if you’re going to use a DP spot, it needs to be on an elite defensive midfielder, a match-winning No. 10, I don’t know what they’re doing at No. 9,” Gass said. “You have all those spots to fill in for a team like that.”
Nashville have been trading away international slots for allocation money, which would mean they’d have enough for Yedlin, Gass argues.
“He’d upgrade a team that has their core, has their spine, and he can attacking quality to the right back position, service for [Jhonder] Cadiz, things like that, as well a younger guy to last for the next four or five years if he’s willing to come back to MLS,” Gass adds. “That’s the fit that I see."
As Gass points out, Nashville are low on the allocation list, which would require a trade to move up (and again there is the allocation money to necessitate such a move).
This is one Matt Doyle argued against.
“If I were Nashville I would be more interested in upgrading that attack, specifically the No. 10 position,” he said. “And I think Alistair Johnston, given what his contract is and what he provided last year, I don’t think the [return on investment] is there to sort of recruit over him.”
Columbus Crew SC
The “window is now” for Columbus Crew SC, Doyle said. And to this point Columbus have treated the offseason as such, adding free agents in Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kevin Molino to an already impressive attack.
The newly-minted MLS Cup champions have a lot to play for in 2021 — attempting to repeat, a deep run in the Concacaf Champions League, a Supporters’ Shield, etc — and a 34-year-old in Harrison Afful is manning right back for a team playing in multiple competitions next season.
Imagine Yedlin opposite Milton Valenzuela?
Seattle Sounders FC
Obviously not an Eastern Conference team, but taking that variable out of the equation, a return to the Sounders makes the most sense for a number of reasons.
Seattle have shown they are willing to spend TAM on a right back (Kelvin Leerdam, who could be on his way out, which would open up a need). Yedlin is a Seattle native who came up through the Sounders academy before making his first team debut in 2013 and, like Columbus, Seattle are in “win now” mode.
“They want to win championships this year, next year and the year after,” Doyle said. “And DeAndre Yedlin as a right back would, in theory, help them do that.”