2018 Key Transfers: Philadelphia Union

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Philadelphia Union and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

There wasn’t really a lot for Philadelphia Union fans to shout about during in the 2017 campaign – finishing 8th in the Eastern Conference, outside of the playoffs. With that in mind it would be fair to say they could do with revamping their squad in hope of reaching the post season. They’ve signed just five players so far, while some notable players have been moved on. It’s going to require a big effort for them to force their way into a playoff spot considering how competitive the Eastern Conference is, but the squad will be ready and raring to go come the start of the season.

Key Signings

David Accam: Easily the biggest signing for Philadelphia Union during the window. David Accam comes in as a designated player from Chicago. He has an impressive MLS record in his three seasons so far, scoring 33 in 78, with a further 15 assists. His goal contribution makes him an ideal forward to help Philadelphia push in the right direction. At 27 they have picked up a player nearing the peak of his powers and the Union faithful will be hoping he can produce on their opener to give everyone a lift and positive start to the 2018 season.

Cory Burke: Firepower is what Philly have needed and this is another signing who will be hoping to make a difference. Cory Burke isn’t exactly a household name but he has international experience under his belt with Jamaica. Coming in from USL side Bethlehem Steel FC, he bagged an nine goals in 25 games last season. He will be looking to put pressure on his teammates Jay Simpson and C.J. Sapong for a starting place.

Notable Departures

Chris Pontius: Heading into his tenth MLS campaign having scored 45 goals in 215 games, Chris Pontius leaves Philly after two seasons. His experience will be missed but it seems a good time for him to be moved on as both parties look to freshen things up.

Roland Alberg: Having played 52 times for Philadelphia over two seasons Roland Alberg is on the move. He scored 16 goals and picked up four assists during his time at the club and will be a miss in the middle of the park.

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2018 Key Transfers: Orlando City

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Orlando City and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

To say it’s been a busy winter at Orlando City would be an understatement. The club have been one of the busiest in MLS since their 2017 campaign came to an end. Plenty have gone, and plenty more have come in as the Lions prepare for a new-look team this season. The outcome appears to be positive. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield. They started last season with six wins from seven but then completely dropped off, eventually finishing 10th in the East with 39 points. They need to be more consistent and will hope their new-look squad can fire them into the playoffs for the first time. This will be their fourth MLS campaign, so it’s time to start delivering.

Key Signings

Sacha Kljestan: The big question this winter was: ‘Who is going to replace Kaka for Orlando?’ The answer is Sacha Kljestan. The Lions made a big move for the Red Bulls star, sending Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas the other way. In Kljestan, Orlando have acquired the league’s leading assist provider from both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. At 32, there are some concerns about his fitness but he has played 97 regular season games over the past three seasons in New York – an average of 32 games a season. This one makes a lot of sense.

Lamine Sane: The Lions made a major move to strengthen their defence with the signing of 30-year-old Senegalese international Sane. The centre-back joins from Werder Bremen, where he scored two goals in 40 appearances. Prior to moving to Germany, he enjoyed a seven-year stay with French side Bordeaux. He will bring vital experience to Orlando and should be a great addition to the backline, so long as he can adapt quickly.

Justin Meram: The signing of Meram has to be one of the best this offseason by any MLS side. The winger is dangerous out wide or in a more central playmaking position and knows the league inside out. All seven of his professional seasons to date have been spent in Columbus but he wanted a new challenge and got his wish as Orlando made a major move for him. They sent $1.05 million in allocation money to the Crew, as well as an international roster spot. Meram has 40 goals and 35 assists in 200 league and playoff appearances and should be a really good addition.

Josue Colman: Another exciting attacking addition for Orlando comes in the form of Paraguayan winger Colman. The 19-year-old joins as a Young DP and will hope to nail down a regular starting role under Kreis in 2018. He joins the club from Cerro Porteno in Paraguay’s top flight after helping them win the Clausura title last year. He will have the right players around him to ensure he fulfils his potential in Florida.

Oriol Rosell: Orlando have signed a great accompaniment to all their attacking moves in Uri Rosell. The former Sporting Kansas City midfielder joins from Sporting CP in Portugal. A total of $400,000 was sent to FC Dallas so that Orlando could secure the No.1 spot in the league allocation order. Rosell is a tough-tackling holding midfielder, who knows the league and at 25, should be a great addition.

Notable Departures

Kaka: Undoubtedly the biggest loss for the Lions this offseason was Kaka. The Brazilian legend retired after his three-year contract with the Lions ended. He failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs as he had hoped but he was an incredibly instrumental figure in and off the pitch, helping to shape Orlando’s identity in MLS and on the world map. He was a three-time MLS All-Star and recorded 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.

Giles Barnes: Another attacking player to move on is Barnes. The English-born Jamaican international has joined Liga MX side Club Léon after his option was declined. He scored three goals and added two assists in 34 games last season and leaves MLS after six seasons in which he represented Houston, Vancouver and Orlando.

Antonio Nocerino: The Italian midfielder had his option declined at the end of the 2017 season after failing to ever live up to his billing. He joined from AC Milan and was expected to impress but scored just one goal in 52 games and didn’t register a single assist in two seasons.

Carlos Rivas: Rivas was sent to the Red Bulls along with Tommy Redding in exchange for Kljestan. His departure released a Designated Player slot for the Lions but his dynamic play style might be missed. He played 78 games over three seasons with Orlando, scoring eight goals and picking up 13 assists. Those numbers aren’t DP level though and that’s why he’s been allowed to move on.

Cyle Larin: Larin’s departure couldn’t have gone less smooth. The Canadian striker travelled to Turkey in January to train with Besiktas, without the consent of Orlando. He was contracted to the Lions through 2019 but decided to ignore his contract and tried to force through a move to Besiktas. He eventually got his way as Orlando accepted at least $2.3 million from the Turkish giants. But bad feelings aside, Larin led the team in goals in each of his three seasons and his presence will likely be a big miss in attack.

2018 Key Transfers: New York City FC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New York City FC and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

New York City FC had an impressive 2017 season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve continued to build and improve since their inception into the league. They fell short at the conference semifinal stage of the playoffs for the second year in a row last season and they will now be looking to go one better in 2018. Some key players have departed the club and while the players they have signed might not be overly familiar to the masses, they look likely to make a positive impact.

Key Signings

Saad Abdul-Slaam: NYCFC have chosen to bolster their defensive options with the signing of Saad Abdul-Salaam. The right back comes in from SKC having played second fiddle last season, making just 12 appearances. He has experience of playing, and losing, in an MLS Cup final. This will be his fourth MLS season and this looks to be a good pick-up for Patrick Vieira’s side.

Jesus Medina: A new attacking midfielder who comes in for New York City to help the squad rebuild after some big names have departed. Jesus Medina has been signed as a DP and is a versatile option as he can also play on the wing. He’s known for a quick change of pace and footwork which have given him a reputation as a creator. That is something NYCFC are going to need considering both Andrea Pirlo and Jack Harrison have departed. At 20 he’s been signed for the long-term. One to watch…

Ismael Tajouri: Another young, versatile signing for NYCFC. 23 year old Ismael Tajouri is predominately a right winger can also play as a second striker. Vieira has sung his praises, speaking of his ‘power, pace and skill’ in one-on-one situations. With his ability to play in more than one attacking role it looks to be a signing with promise, similarly to Medina, to help fill the void left by big name departures.

Notable Departures

Andrea Pirlo: There isn’t much to be said that people don’t know about Pirlo and he is going to be a huge loss for NYCFC. He made a total of 60 appearances for the club, scoring once. Pirlo will go down in the history books as a designated player who was part of the first ever NYCFC squad in their inaugural season. His experience will be extremely hard to replace but now it’s time for Vieira’s side to build for the future, while Pirlo is set to enjoy retirement after a stunning career that’s seen him do it all.

Jack Harrison: This is a departure that NYCFC fans will be disappointed about. Jack Harrison has left for partner club Manchester City and has since gone on loan to Middlesbrough in the Championship. Harrison had a very impressive 2017, scoring ten goals in 34 games and he is going to be another player who is difficult to replace.

RJ Allen: NYCFC have said goodbye to another face who has been there from the beginning of their MLS journey. RJ Allen played 53 games for the club but has been traded to Orlando, to join forces with former NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. He made 15 appearances in 2017, but only really established himself as a regular in the 2016 season. A good move for both player and club based on that, however he is still going to be a miss.

Mikey Lopez: Another midfielder who is moving on, Mikey Lopez will take plenty from his time at NYCFC. Learning from the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo put any midfielder in good standing to build on and now at 24 the time is right for him to look to push his career forwards. He made 27 appearances during his two-year spell at the club.

Khiry Shelton: Big things were expected from Khiry Shelton back in 2015 when he was the No.2 overall pick in the SuperDraft, but he has been unlucky with injuries that have lead to his progress being a little stifled. However, he has shown form in stages to suggest the excitement around his name is justified. He moves on the SKC having scored six goals and a further ten assists in his 54 appearances in the hope of locking down a more regular role that a clean bill of health should allow him to do.

2018 Key Transfers: New England Revolution

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New England Revolution and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

The 2017 season wasn’t one New England Revolution fans will remember fondly. The team finished seventh in the Eastern Conference for the second successive season. Their 13-15-6 record wasn’t terrible but the squad underperformed and conceded far too many goals. Only LA Galaxy and Minnesota United conceded more goals than the Revs (61) last time out. Brad Friedel has replaced Jay Heaps as the new head coach and Revs fans will hope his arrival ensures the defence is more solid in 2018 as they look to return to the playoffs. Lee Nguyen’s future remains unclear as the playmaker still wants out. He has returned to preseason training but it looks like being a long and potentially damaging transfer saga for both the club and the player…

Key Signings

Cristian Penilla: With Kei Kamara leaving (more on that below), New England had to ensure they brought in a fresh attacking option. The man they have turned to is Ecuadorian striker Cristian Penilla. The 26-year-old has played in the top flight in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico, playing over 200 games. He joins New England on loan but with the option to buy at the end of the season. He might end up being a Designated Player for the Revs, but they are also considering using Targeted Allocation Money to buy down his contract if another big signing is made.

Jalil Anibaba: The Revs addressed their defensive issues by signing experienced MLS defender Anibaba. The 29-year-old joins the club after leaving Houston at the end of the 2017 campaign. He has played 166 regular season games since 2011 for Chicago, Seattle, Sporting KC and Houston. He might not be a regular starter but he’ll add some vital depth across the entire backline.

Wilfried Zahibo: Expect to see a lot of Zahibo in 2018. The French midfielder is a powerful ball-winner, who is vastly experienced despite being just 24. He joins the Revs on a free transfer after leaving Spanish second division side Gimnastic de Tarragona. He has previously played for Ajaccio, Fuenlabrada and Valencia. Friedel is likely to use Zahibo alongside Scott Caldwell in the centre of midfield.

Gabriel Somi: Another defensive addition, Somi is a Swedish-born Syrian who is most comfortable at left-back, but can play a number of positions. He joins on a free after departing Östersunds FK, who have been one of the Europa League’s success stories in 2017/18.

Notable Departures

Kei Kamara: The powerful striker has moved on after one-and-a-half seasons. It comes as no surprise after the player admitted he had never completely settled following his move from Columbus Crew midway through the 2016 season. His next challenge will be in Vancouver, after the Canadian side sent the Revs their first-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in a trade for Kamara. He scored 12 goals and assisted five more in 31 games in 2017.

Benjamin Angoua: The 31-year-old defender leaves New England after just one season. He played 26 games and the club had the option to make his loan move permanent but declined after the Revs struggled so badly at the back in 2017.  He has since returned to France with Guingamp.

Xavier Kouassi: The midfield enforcer is perhaps unfortunate to have been moved on after just two seasons. Kouassi joined the Revs as a Designated Player in 2016 but was ruled out for the season after picking up a serious injury almost immediately. He played 23 games in 2017 and was impressive when healthy. However, New England decided not to give him one more season and have replaced him with Zahibo.

Gershon Koffie: Another midfielder to have left is Gershon Koffie. The 26-year-old has returned to Swedish side Hammarby after his loan expired. He played 23 games last season but couldn’t really stamp his mark on the midfield, despite his reputation of being a tough-tackling box-to-box engine. His departure, along with Kouassi’s and Daigo Kobayashi’s means the Revs will have a very different midfield in 2018.

2018 Key Transfers: Montreal Impact

With the 2018 MLS season edging closer with each day, we are running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Montreal Impact and their key moves ahead of their second MLS campaign in 2018…

Key Signings

Raheem Edwards: Canadian international Edwards is a versatile left sided prodigy. After a breakthrough season last season with Canadian rivals and MLS Cup champions Toronto he was picked up by LAFC in the expansion draft, only to traded to Montreal immediately. Two caps for his country last year were well deserved and he will look to push on this coming season.

Michael Petrasso: Young wing-back Petrasso started out at the Toronto academy before a move to Queens Park Rangers in 2013. After numerous loan spells and frustration with playing time, he has moved back to the great white north. Toronto-born Petrasso is also a Canadian international and a move back to his native land may spark a career yet to really get going.

Saphir Taider: The former Saints Loanee (if only for a month) has yet to reach his potential. As a young 17 year old he put in some very impressive displays playing for Grenoble in France. After two stints with Bologna sandwiched between a spell at Inter Milan, he has made the move to MLS. And at only 25, he still has a lot of life in his career.

Notable Departures

Laurent Ciman: Perhaps the biggest loss to an MLS club this year is Belgian stallwault Ciman. In three seasons with Montreal he has time and again proved to be one of the greatest MLS defenders. He was moved to new franchise LAFC in a surprise trade following the expansion draft, with Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala moving to the Impact. He will be a big loss.

Hernan Bernardello: Argentine international Bernardello has finished his second stint in Montreal after only one season. In the two spells at the Canadian franchise he has amassed 53 matches but only registered a single goal. The 31-year-old midfielder started 17 regular season games last term and has since joined Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland.

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla: Perhaps a worrying sign for not only Montreal but the league as a whole. The 18 year old Tabla is a prospect from the Montreal academy, and has moved to FC Barcelona. For such a young talent to leave the league before really showing what he can do is a potential concern. The move is great for the young forward, but begs the question why MLS is struggling to keep hold of their own young talent.

2018 Key Transfers: Minnesota United

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Minnesota United and their key signings ahead of their second MLS campaign in 2018…

Minnesota’s inaugural season in MLS was average. They did relatively well with what they had at their disposal, finishing 9th in a very competitive Western Conference. But the points gap between them making the playoffs was as many as ten. Their aim for 2018 has to be to improve on last season, however as you’d expect all the sides who will be gunning for the playoffs will have also improved their squads. Signing just six players so far doesn’t suggest Minnesota are going to be automatic favourites for the playoffs, but they should be able to grow and with each passing game more experience will come. 2017 wasn’t good. But it wasn’t terrible either, given how tough it is for expansion sides.

Key Signings

Tyrone Mears: Having conceded a league high of 70 goals last season it is no surprise to see Minnesota bring in some defensive experience. At 34, Tyrone Mears has an MLS Cup to his name and will bring plenty to the squad both on and off the field.

Matt Lampson: Another defensive signing and this time in the goalkeeping department. Matt Lampson has been playing in MLS since 2012, however he has made just 51 appearances in that time. He may well be selected as the new number one for Minnesota, although last season regular Sammy Ndjock is still at the club. Lampson will be able to provide another experienced head at the club, even through just being part of squad as he heads into his sixth MLS year.

Harrison Heath: At 21, Harrison Heath is another solid signing for Minnesota. He is yet to really make a name for himself but this season may be his chance. His family connection with head coach Adrian Heath will see plenty expected from him and the pressure will be on him to deliver even more so when selected. One to watch…

Mason Toye: Picked up in the SuperDraft, there will not be a huge amount expected from Mason Toye in his first professional season. At 19 the forward comes in with a college soccer record of 10 goals in 25 games last season. He is 6ft 3 and will be hoping to get chances to prove himself.

Notable Departures

Kevin Venegas: While Minnesota’s defence struggled to cope with the pressures of MLS in their debut campaign there were some players who would have enjoyed a second shot at it in the coming season. Kevin Venegas is one of those faces but the club he decided he is not in their plans for the coming season.

Jermaine Taylor: While Jermaine Taylor only featured 14 times last season for Minnesota he is a notable departure in the respect that he has plenty of experience. Despite nearing 150 MLS appearances, he is one of those that the club have decided to part company with in their bid to find more defensive solidarity in the 2018 campaign.

Johan Venegas: Minnesota have loaned out Johan Venegas after he made 22 appearances in 2017. They clearly see the value in looking to keep him in part of their long-term plans, with his departure not a permanent one as of yet.

2018 Key Transfers: LA Galaxy

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at LA Galaxy  and their key signings ahead of their MLS campaign in 2018…

LA Galaxy endured a season to forget in 2017. They finished bottom of the Western Conference and had very little to shout about. They won the least amount of games across MLS and they need to improve both offensively and defensively so they can push themselves back to familiar territory in the coming season. The Galaxy faithful have seen plenty of business during the window with some key faces coming in and departing.

Key Signings

Perry Kitchen: Solidity in defensive positions has been a must for Galaxy in the offseason and this is a signal of their intent. Perry Kitchen spent five good seasons with DC and had been a key member of the squad, starting 155 of his 158 games. He has returned to MLS following a spell in Europe. His experience and versatility is what Galaxy need and they will be hoping he can make an impact for them from the off.

David Bingham: Bingham is expected to be the new number one. LA Galaxy have decided to opt for the former Quakes ‘keeper as their new last line of defence. With three goalkeepers departing, including Brian Rowe, Bingham will be making his 100th MLS appearance in gameweek four providing he is the first choice. With that in mind he has plenty of experience and at 28 he has plenty of years ahead of him, so this looks a good signing.

Chris Pontius: Signed as a free agent after being released from Philadelphia, Chris Pontius looks to be a very good pickup for the Galaxy. An MLS veteran, Pontius is heading into his tenth campaign, having scored 45 goals in 215 games. He can be deployed in an attacking midfield role or as a forward, so he gives LA Galaxy options.

Ola Kamara: Galaxy needed to improve from front to back and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Off the back of two very impressive seasons, Ola Kamara has been picked up after scoring 34 goals in 59 games for Columbus Crew. There is going to be a lot of expectation on his shoulders with stats like that. Galaxy are also being linked with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Hernandez, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more attacking signings come in to support Kamara before the start of the season.

Notable Departures

Robbie Rogers: The 30-year-old defender has called time on his playing days, Robbie Rogers made 184 appearances over a 10 year MLS career. His ability to be utilised on both the right and left of the field means he is going to be an option the Galaxy will miss.

Jermaine Jones: LA Galaxy have decided to allow the experienced 36-year-old midfielder to move on. 2017 was the most appearances he’s made in one season since his move over to MLS from European football. Now may be a good time for both the player and club to seek new adventures with Galaxy needing to freshen up a side that underdelivered in 2017.

Gyasi Zardes: The last two seasons haven’t been too enjoyable for Gyasi Zardes, through injury in 2016 and Galaxy’s worst ever campaign last time out. Making 131 appearances and scoring 34 goals over five years at the club, he’s one the Galaxy fans will miss. A fresh start for him at Columbus is now in store, which he will be looking forward to.

Brian Rowe: The Galaxy have parted ways with Brian Rowe after six years. He made 45 appearances over the course of the last two seasons, although he isn’t being tipped as a number one choice for his new club Vancouver.

Jose Villarreal: LA Galaxy have decided to allow their second-ever homegrown signing to move on. At just 24, Jose Villarreal has 68 MLS appearances to his name, all with LA. There is more expected from him with plenty of time to continue to improve. A squad player who has the ability to make an impact and someone that will certainly need replacing if Galaxy want to keep good depth to their numbers.

2018 Key Transfers: LAFC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at the league’s newest side, Los Angeles FC and their key signings ahead of their inaugural MLS campaign in 2018…

Los Angeles FC are entering the league as the 23rd franchise competing for glory in MLS in 2018. Led by the experienced Bob Bradley, many are expecting LAFC to make their mark in the West as they try and become the first expansion franchise to life the MLS Cup since Chicago did it in 1998. Oh, and Chicago were coached by Bob Bradley then too. Realistically, the expectation will be to make the playoffs at the first time of asking and establish a play style. The club have been busy building the squad from scratch. Two Designated Players have been signed, some big trades have been made and the club got two of the first three SuperDraft picks after trading DC for the third spot. Below we have highlighted the standout signings that we expect to make the biggest impact with LAFC in 2018.

Carlos Vela: LAFC brought in Vela from Real Sociedad as their first ever Designated Player. The Mexican star had been with Sociedad since 2011, where he scored over 50 goals in seven years for the La Liga side. Before that, he was with Arsenal, where he struggled to make a proper impact. But after 12 years in Europe, Vela has now made the move to LAFC, where he will be much closer to his friends and family. Reports in Spain suggested the transfer offer for Vela was around €5 million, and he will be expected to be the expansion franchise’s star man in 2018.

Walker Zimmerman: LAFC made a strong move to sign 24-year-old centre-back Zimmerman from FC Dallas in early December. The expansion franchise sent $500,000 in allocation money and the #1 allocation ranking to Dallas for the defender. He has played 89 regular season games over the past five seasons and knows the league well. He missed time last season with a knee injury but is back and ready to help LAFC make their make in their debut campaign. Laurent Ciman: Alongside Zimmerman will be veteran Belgium international defender Ciman. He arrived from Montreal after LAFC sent Expansion Draft picks Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Canadian side. Ciman was apparently left shocked at the trade as he knew nothing about it until he was already an LAFC player. But the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year is now looking forward to working with Zimmerman to become the best central defence partnership in the league.

 

Diego Rossi: Rossi was signed as LAFC’s second Designated Player and is expected to play as an inverted winger in the left side of the attack. He is a highly regarded Uruguayan youngster who was brought in for a reported $4 million from Penarol of Uruguay’s Primera Division. At just 19, Rossi has a lot of potential and is the second youngest DP in MLS history, after Fabian Castillo who joined Dallas aged 18.

Benny Feilhaber: At 33, Feilhaber is unlikely to be able to offer what he did in 2015 when he was an MVP finalist. But he should still be a valuable and vital player for LAFC following his move from Sporting KC. The midfielder played 180 times for SKC, scoring 33 goals and picking up 56 assists. Lots Angeles FC sent $400,000 in allocation money for his services. He will likely end up playing as the team’s number 10, finding gaps in behind the opposition defence for the likes of Rossi and Vela to run into.

The Premier League’s best player is already planning a move to MLS

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is at the peak of his powers and is the frontrunner for this season’s Premier League Player of the Season award. He has taken the league by storm but it turns out he has eyes for MLS and a move to America in the future.

The 26-year-old Belgian midfielder loves the culture of American life and is seemingly planning to make the move to Major League Soccer once his time with Manchester City comes to an end.

He has only recently signed a huge contract extension with City that ties him down until 2023, so don’t expect a move anytime soon. But his agent, Patrik De Koster, has revealed that De Bruyne has already spoken about a potential MLS move.

“I think Kevin will end his career in the USA rather than in Belgium,” De Koster said. “He has already been to America many times on holiday, and he loves the country and its culture. We have often spoken about him ending his career in the MLS.”

“He hasn’t yet had any offers from American clubs, because they know it is not worth bothering as he is at the peak of his career. Clubs in China will probably look longingly at him, but I can’t see him going over to play there.”

De Bruyne has been in incredible form for Man City this season, picking up 14 assists. The Citizens look certain to seal a first Premier League title since 2013/14, with De Bruyne heavily tipped to be named as the league’s Player of the Season.

If he were to move to MLS in the future, it’s likely that New York City FC would be frontrunners for his signature, given their ties with Manchester City. Although the league is growing at an alarming rate and so there will be no shortage of options for a player of De Bruyne’s talent, if and when the day arrives that he is looking for an MLS move.

Do you think Kevin De Bruyne will end his career in MLS? Which club do you think he’d join?

2018 Key Transfers: Houston Dynamo

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Houston Dynamo’s key signings and departures and what they could mean for them in the 2018 MLS season…

Houston Dynamo bounced back in a big way last season. They finished bottom of the West in 2016 but responded with a major reshuffle and ended the 2017 campaign in fourth spot, making the playoffs for the first time in four years. They went all the way to the Conference Semifinal, where they were brushed aside by Seattle. But it was a positive season and the aim will now be to build on that. They’ve retained the services of key players such as Alberth Elis and Juan Cabezas on permanent deals. But they haven’t stopped there and have ensured changes have been made to keep them competitive in 2018…

Key Signings

Arturo Alvarez: Alvarez joins Houston from Chicago Fire, where he scored three goals and added two assists in 25 games last season. At 32, he brings key experience to the dressing room and should provide valuable depth in the final third. He will be entering the 13th MLS season of his career and should be a good addition for Wilmer Cabrera’s men.

Chris Seitz: One of the key positions for recruitment this offseason was the goalkeeping spot. And Houston wasted no time in dealing with it as they brought in the experienced Chris Seitz via free agency, following his release from FC Dallas. He is an MLS veteran, with 11 seasons behind him, but at 30 he is still young in goalkeeping terms. He enjoyed his best season in 2016, playing 28 games for Dallas as they won the Supporters’ Shield. But he had to play second fiddle to Jesse Gonzalez in 2017 and is now ready for a new challenge in Houston.

Darwin Ceren: The signing of Darwin Ceren should really solidify the Dynamo’s midfield. He joins the club from San Jose Earthquakes, who picked up around $175,000 in allocation money for his services. Ceren has played 75 regular season matches over the past three seasons, scoring two goals with six assists. He knows the league well enough now and should shore up the Dynamo’s midfield with his tenacious approach.

Alejandro Fuenmayor: The 21-year-old defender joins from Venezuelan top flight side Carabobo FC, where he made his debut at age 17 in 2013. Despite his young age, Fuenmayor is experienced and should shore up a Dynamo defence that had the sixth-best defence in 2017. He has already played over 70 professional matches in his homeland and helped Carabobo to boast the Venezuelan league’s best defence last year.

Notable Departures

Jalil Anibaba: Anibaba has left the Dynamo after two seasons and has since joined up with the New England Revolution. He is an MLS veteran and played 38 games for Houston over the past two seasons. However, only eight of those appearances came last term, so it’s clear that he was no longer needed. His departure does remove some key experience from the team’s backline though.

Ricardo Clark: Another experienced Dynamo player to depart is Ricardo Clark. The 34-year-old midfielder had been with Houston since the summer of 2012, playing 178 games over the past six seasons. He failed to score last season – the first time that’s happened in his 13-season MLS career – but did add two assists and his presence in the dressing room with no doubt be missed. He has since signed with the Columbus Crew via free agency.

Alex: After picking up 11 assists in 32 regular season games last season, Alex will more than likely be missed in 2018. The Dynamo had tried to agree terms to extend his stay with them beyond the 2017 campaign but an agreement couldn’t be reached. He has since moved to South Korea to join Suwon FC on a presumably bigger salary that the one being offered by Houston.

Erick Torres: Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres has returned to Liga MX with Pumas UNAM for an undisclosed fee, following three years in Houston. He led the team in goals last year with 14. But unfortunately, he was only able to find the net twice in his final ten games of the regular season. His goals will be missed and his presence in the attack will be difficult to replace. But the decision to move him on following the offer from Pumas makes sense.

Tyler Deric: Deric departed Houston in damaging circumstances, following his arrest and charge with domestic assault. He was suspended following the incident in November and understandably released following the 2017 season. Deric is currently not eligible to be signed by any MLS team until his league suspension is lifted.