It’s been a busy winter on the U.S. Men’s National Team front, at least by average.
There’s the side of World Cup qualifying, with a young American team very close to the nation’s return to the big stage after the failed 2018 cycle. he national team, as has been well documented, has been the number of emerging talents who made their way at a young age to some of Europe’s top clubs and leagues, and that’s the other element of winter hectic. That number of overseas prospects continues to grow, as evidenced by the handful of young talents who have left MLS for overseas destinations in recent weeks.
There are a lot of things that have happened overseas recently. Christian Pulisic is heading to the FIFA Club World Cup with Chelsea, while Gio Reyna has finally made his return from injury after a five-month absence and Jordan Pefok has returned to scoring as his season resumes. club, taking their season tally in all competitions to an impressive one. 18 goals.
But the drumbeat of talent joining America’s stars overseas continues to intensify, with a new group of players now experiencing club play on a different level. Here’s a look at the movements of those caught in the January transfer winds and the circumstances they find themselves in now:
Ricardo Pepi (full transfer to Augsburg)
Pepi’s decision has been discussed over the transfer window from the USA’s perspective. After being linked with all sorts of top clubs, he found himself at Augsburg, smashing the record transfer fee of the German club and FC Dallas, respectively, with his $20 million move. With this award comes expectation and pressure, and it doesn’t help that Augsburg are in the midst of a relegation tumble. The club won without Pepi on Saturday – he had just featured sub-zero temperatures with the United a few days before and was unavailable – to clear four points of the automatic drop, but he still finds himself in the place of the relegation playoff with 13 Bundesliga matches. go. Pepi, 19, has played three times for his new club (two starts) and is yet to score (his last goal for club or country came on 7 October, in a span of 14 matches), but the stakes increase as the season rolls on. the home straight, he will have to help ease the external pressure on his movement.
That pressure, at least, doesn’t seem to come from his manager, Markus Weinzierl, who said during the transfer that “Ricardo Pepi makes a big impression. We think long term with him. He’s still very young. He gives us a other alternative from the start. But we have to give him time. We will be very, very careful with him. It’s not his fault that the prices are so crazy.”
Daryl Dike (Full transfer to West Brom)
Dike’s transfer is the classic example of why initial judgments don’t always stick. On the surface, his $9.5 million move from Orlando City looked terrific. Go play for a manager under whom he succeeded on loan at Barnsley last spring, in a team that has hopes of promotion to the Premier League, in a league he is already familiar with. Sounds pretty ideal, right?
Fast forward a few weeks and Dike is on the shelf for two months after suffering a hamstring injury, and that manager, Valérien Ismaël, has been let go, with Steve Bruce intervening. Dike will have the final two months of the season, under an unknown manager, to make his mark and begin the process of getting back on the USMNT radar. Its situation is no longer as conducive to this event as it once seemed.
George Bello (Full transfer to Arminia Bielefeld)
Bello enjoyed an instant introduction to his new team, making his Bundesliga debut five days after his deadline day transfer from Atlanta United with an encouraging 20-minute stint in Saturday’s draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Immediate returns are strong for the 20-year-old left-back, especially with the depth chart behind Antonee Robinson flowing for the United Lock in a more permanent role in Germany and benefit from the development that comes with it, and a more important place in the future of the USMNT is there for the taking. Like Pepi, Bello’s new club is quite close to the relegation zone so the downside of spending at least one season in a lower league still hangs in the balance. Nonetheless, it looks like the opportunities will be there for Bello to shine.
“He’s a very open guy. He’s ready to work. He wants to learn. He’s a good guy, good character. He’s quick and he has good technical skills, so overall it’s a good package,” Arminia Bielefeld manager Frank Kramer said. “He can help us and we need to work with him so that he can improve and come into the team and the ideas we have as quickly as possible.
Kevin Paredes (full transfer to Wolfsburg)
After becoming DC United’s record export, Paredes made the bench for the first Bundesliga matchday he was eligible for, and while he didn’t see the pitch it bodes well for his immediate future as a player. as an 18-year-old player in a new league with a new team. Wolfsburg eased their relegation worries a bit by snapping a nine-game winless streak (0-7-2) in this fixture with a win over last-placed Greuther Fürth, but, as with moves from Pepi and Bello, it There’s still room for some short-term risk on a move with long-term potential. The Bundesliga remains the best place for young American hopefuls to flourish, however, and that seems to be the plan for a player who could enjoy a rapid rise.
“Kevin is a player who is comfortable both on the left wing and as a No.8,” Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schäfer said in his assessment of his new signing. “He’s got great pace and incredible drive, great attacking power and he’s really, really ambitious.”
James Sands (18 month loan to Rangers)
After winning the MLS Cup with NYCFC, Sands immediately swung into action in Scotland making two starts for Rangers. He hasn’t featured in any of the club’s last three games, however, including the Old Firm rivalry fight against Celtic for which he remained a spectator on the bench.
Unlike all of her counterparts who have moved abroad, the potential for European football is in Sands’ immediate future, with a Europa League knockout round against Borussia Dortmund (and Reyna, a former team-mate at NYCFC Academy) scheduled for February 17 and 2. 24. That Sands could play under a manager like Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a versatile threat at the time, should be a bonus, although the arrival of Aaron Ramsey on loan at the transfer deadline adds another wrinkle in the middle of club grounds. Unlike Ramsey, Sands’ loan comes with an option to buy.
Justin Che (18-month loan to Hoffenheim)
After spending time on a short-term loan with Bayern Munich last year, the 18-year-old Che returned to Germany lower in the Bundesliga table at Hoffenheim. He’s a teammate – temporarily, anyway – of fellow United States international and FC Dallas academy product Chris Richards, who is at Hoffenheim on loan for the rest of the season from Bayern. Like Richards, he could play for his new club’s first team sooner rather than later.
“Che has a good combination of dynamism and other essential attributes for a defender. He is flexible and can play on the right, in the middle or on the left of defence,” said Hoffenheim manager Sebastian Hoeneß, who has previously coached Bayern Munich II and has further insight into Che’s potential.”He made a good impression with Bayern’s reserves. He made his presence felt there without any problems. He’s an exciting player, who can hopefully -the, be a first-team option for us very quickly.
This would be an ideal outcome for a player whose loan comes with an option to buy.
Cole Bassett (18 month loan to Feyenoord)
Like Paredes, Bassett was an unused substitute in his first eligible game for his new club. But unlike Sands, he hasn’t been included in his new club’s squad in the knockout stage of European competition (Feyenoord are in the third-tier Europa Conference League), and the player may 20 years old has to wait a bit. more time to fit in, despite wanting to get involved right away.
“My personal plan is that I want to try and play as soon as possible,” Bassett said. Dutch outlet Rijnmond recently. “I know they’ve given me some time off, and maybe it’s more towards next season, but for me, as a player, I don’t think you see it as ‘Oh, I want to wait six months to play.’ I want to play in the Sparta game, personally.“
It didn’t happen, but Bassett isn’t lacking in confidence.
“If you look at all the players over the years who have come through here and played here, you see a lot of young players who have come and gone on to have very good careers but also played well here first, so it the most important thing for me is to come here and develop and learn the coach [Arne] The slots system, then also get playing time on the court and really start playing well for that club. “
Slot was a former teammate of USA manager Gregg Berhalter during his playing days, which is an added bonus for Bassett, whose loan comes with an option to buy.
“They had a conversation on the phone before I came. It’s good to know that they know each other,” Bassett said. “Just the fact that Arne and Gregg have good conversations and good communication about how which I will hopefully help me get back into the national team picture.”
Auston Trusty (full transfer to Arsenal, loan to Colorado)
There’s nothing wrong with working the club ownership pipeline to your advantage. Ask Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls at RB Leipzig). So for Trusty (a good MLS player, but there’s a reason your first reaction to his move to Arsenal on deadline day was most likely ”whoa“) to secure a transfer from one Kroenke-owned property to another is a good use of his situation. Now the question is when, if ever, does Trusty play for Arsenal. The Gunners have already stated emphatically that they would loan him out for the 2022-23 season, and it’s hard to imagine him qualifying for a UK work permit at any time given he’s currently not capped at US senior level. centre-back will spend another half-season in Colorado before embarking on an overseas adventure, and being under Arsenal’s control should open fruitful new doors for the 23-year-old, even if he doesn’t. the home dressing room at the Emirates.
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