What I’m hearing on potential MLS player moves abroad: Tom Bogert

Tom Bogert

With the January transfer window upon us, this is the latest I’m hearing on players who could be on the move from MLS this month.  All information was gathered from sources briefed on the dealings who were granted anonymity so they could discuss each situation freely.

Coco Carrasquilla

Not too much has changed for the situation around Houston Dynamo star midfielder Coco Carrasquilla since the summer: There’s plenty of interest, but no official offers (yet).

Clubs in Spain, Brazil and Mexico are in the chase, but they have yet to submit a bid, sources say.

Houston was bracing for bids in August and was happy to keep him through the end of the year, as Carrasquilla played a crucial role in the club winning the U.S. Open Cup and finishing fourth in the Western Conference before going on to reach the conference final.

Carrasquilla, 25, played for Spanish side FC Cartagena before joining Houston in 2021. He made 28 appearances in the Spanish second division.

Julian Carranza

With one year left on his contract, Philadelphia Union forward Julian Carranza looks set for an exit sooner or later. There’s a bunch of interest for a January transfer abroad, but the Union and Carranza will work to find the right opportunity. If he stays in Philly, he could leave on a free transfer next winter.

Thiago Almada

The biggest MLS outbound transfer story to watch remains the same: Atlanta is waiting for serious bids near their valuation and prefer to keep Thiago Almada as long as they can.

Almada, 22, was part of Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad last winter and has been among the best players in MLS since arriving in a league-record transfer worth $16 million ahead of the 2022 season. Last year he was a finalist for MLS MVP after an excellent season of 13 goals and 16 primary assists in 35 appearances across all competitions.

Napoli, Ajax and others have been loosely linked with Almada in the past. Atlanta is likely to hold out for a package around $30 million, eclipsing the current MLS-outbound transfer record of $27 million (Miguel Almiron from Atlanta to Newcastle in 2019).

Federico Bernardecshi

Federico Bernardeschi and Toronto FC may be headed for a split after a disastrous 18 months. Both parties would like that outcome.

Bernardeschi visited Juventus’ training facility at the end of November and, when asked by a supporter if he would return to the club this winter, he said “I hope so.” Reports in Italy last week say Bernardeschi is “doing everything he can” to return to Juventus on loan this winter. 

The 29-year-old’s time in Toronto has been marred by disappointing performances and tales of discontent off the field, including leading the charge to remove head coach Bob Bradley and much more, as revealed by The Athletic in May. He has 13 goals and five assists in 47 appearances with the club. 

Toronto missed the playoffs each of his two seasons there and finished bottom of the league last year.

Denis Bouanga

It’s not likely that reigning MLS golden boot winner and LAFC star Denis Bouanga will be on the move, as LAFC has no interest in losing the Gabon international — but there is still a chance.

Bouanga wants a new contract but nothing has happened on that front yet. Bouanga was the 23rd highest-paid player in MLS last season.

“It’s a possibility, yeah,” Bouanga said after MLS Cup, when asked if he could return to Europe. “I leave that to the other people, even if I have a few years left on my contract here.”

LAFC president John Thorrington dismissed the notion of Bouanga leaving, however. 

“Our plan is absolutely (he’ll be back),” he said. “He’s under contract for another few years. We never know what may happen, but it’s going to be a hugely, hugely expensive transfer fee if he’s not here next year.”

LAFC would likely seek at least $15 million to entertain a departure. Clubs in France and Saudi Arabia are interested in Bouanga, sources say.

The 29-year-old had 38 goals across all competitions in 2023, winning the golden boot both in MLS and the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Noel Buck

Though serious interest continues to swirl around England youth international Noel Buck, the New England Revolution is yet to receive an official bid. While a move this winter remains a possibility with all the clubs interested, Buck could stay with the Revs another six or 12 months as both parties wait for the right opportunity.

In addition to a bevy of English sides, Belgian giant Club Brugge is also among clubs chasing Buck. Brugge did business with the Revs in recent years, acquiring Tajon Buchanan for $7 million plus a 10% sell-on. Sources expect New England to be seeking a similar package to the Buchanan one. 

Buck, 18, won a starting role for the Revs in 2023 and enjoyed a breakout year that ended as a regular with the England U-19 national team. 

Duncan McGuire

Orlando City breakout forward Duncan McGuire went from college soccer to the U.S. U-23 national team over the course of a year. He may soon be on his way to Europe, but Orlando wants to keep the striker

Blackburn has had two loan bids rejected and is expected to return with a third, sources said. French club FC Nantes is also interested, but has yet to place a bid. Dutch side FC Utrecht had looked into a deal but that pursuit is inactive. The group that owns Lyon and RWD Molenbeek in Belgium is interested as well, and would likely look to sign McGuire to Molenbeek if serious talks materialized.

McGuire and Orlando are also in talks over a new contract amidst this. The 22-year-old is likely to be on the United States squad at the Olympics this summer. He had 15 goals and three assists across 1,930 minutes across all competitions in his debut professional season.

Cade Cowell

The San Jose Earthquakes have received two fresh bids for USMNT winger Cade Cowell this winter: One from Liga MX and one from a Europa League club.

Cowell was the subject of lengthy negotiations from Serie A side Bologna in the summer, but San Jose failed to agree to terms with them. San Jose previously rejected a bid from Reims in France two summers ago.

Cowell, 20, is ready to take the next step in his career after four seasons as a first team regular in San Jose. 

Karol Swiderski

Poland international forward Karol Swiderski is interested in a return to Europe after two years with Charlotte FC, but any potential deal wouldn’t be cheap.

Charlotte signed Swiderski for around $5 million ahead of their 2022 expansion season and he led the team in goals each of their first two campaigns. 

No official bids have arrived yet, but Bundesliga clubs are among those interested in the striker. Charlotte has DP forward Enzo Copetti and is revamping the attack under new head coach Dean Smith.

Alvaro Barreal

FC Cincinnati is bracing for bids for star wingback Alvaro Barreal after the Argentine had an excellent 2023 season.

Barreal was the subject of interest from Ajax and others in the summer but, as they did with Brandon Vazquez, Cincy insisted on keeping Barreal through the end of the season as they pushed for trophies.


Brazilian giants Flamengo submitted an offer to sign Portland Timbers attacking midfielder Evander, but the $7.5 million bid was rejected out of hand, sources briefed on the bid say. It’s nowhere near the Timbers valuation of the player.

Evander, 25, became Portland’s club-record sign last winter when they spent $10 million to acquire him from Midtjylland. Evander is under contract through 2026, with a club option for 2027. They don’t have interest in selling, especially at a cut-rate bid of $7.5 million.

If bids continue to increase to a point where the club would have to consider, maybe something changes. But it’s not close to that stage at the moment.

Jefferson Savarino

Another DP in the crosshairs of a Brazilian club is Real Salt Lake’s Jefferson Savarino. Botafogo and RSL are nearing a deal worth around $2.7 million for the Venezuela international, sources briefed on the talks tell The Athletic. RSL would retain a sell-on percentage, as well. 

Savarino, 27, had a mixed 2023 season. He had 11 goals and four assists, but wasn’t always a starter as his work off the ball left something to be desired by the coaching staff..

The move would open a DP spot for RSL behind club-record signing Chicho Arango.


Luquinhas is another player likely to depart MLS for Brazil this winter. 

The New York Red Bulls and Fortaleza are in advanced discussions over a deal. The talks were first reported by CL Merlo.

Luquinhas, 27, joined the Red Bulls in 2022 and started strong, but has struggled over the last year and a half. He had only eight goals and nine assists in 56 matches.

New York signed attacker Emil Forsberg from RB Leipzig this winter. Lewis Morgan will be back from injury as well, meaning Luquinhas could struggle for starting minutes. The deal would open a DP spot for RBNY.

Mo Farsi

UAE club Al-Wasl is pushing to sign Columbus Crew wingback Mo Farsi, sources say, but has yet to make a formal bid to the Crew.

Farsi is currently in Dubai. The Crew don’t kick off preseason until a bit later this month, due to their MLS Cup winning run. Al-Wasl currently sit first in the UAE Pro League after 12 matches.

Farsi, 24, made 41 appearances across all competitions for Columbus in 2023, starting all five playoff games. He excelled with the Crew’s second team in 2022, winning the MLS Next Pro title that year and earning a first team deal.

Columbus will have a need at the position if Farsi does leave, as Julian Gressel has already departed in free agency.

(Photo of Noel Buck: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tom Bogert theathletic.com

2024-01-04 16:11:17 , Galaxy – The Athletic

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