2018 Key Transfers: DC United

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the key additions and losses 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 DC United’s key transfers and what it could mean for them in the 2018 MLS season…

DC United head into the 2018 season with plenty to improve upon from the previous campaign. Finishing bottom of the Eastern Conference wouldn’t have been something they expected at the start of the season given they made the playoffs the year before that. Now it is time for them to push themselves back to more familiar territory and Ben Olsen’s side has seen some key names depart in a bid to freshen things up. Seven new faces have come in so far, with DC’s business unlikely to end there…

Key Signings

Yamil Asad: The Argentine attacker has joined DC United on loan for the season from Velez Sarsfield for the 2018 season. Asad spent the 2017 campaign on loan at Atlanta United, where he scored seven goals and 13 assists in 32 games. The Five Stripes wanted to make his stay permanent but an agreement could not be reached. DC United have been able to strike a deal though. They will send $500,000 in allocation money to Atlanta for Asad’s MLS rights, as well as $300,000 to Velez Sarsfield, with the option to make the move permanent in December for a further $700,000.

Frederic Brillant: DC have opted to bring in some experience into their back line in the form of Frederic Brillant. The 32 year old made 54 appearances for NYCFC over two seasons, starting the majority of them. With two defensive departures so far Brillant will bolster Ben Olsen’s options and the DC faithful will be hoping he can tighten up a backline that conceded 60 goals in 2017.

Darren Mattocks: The Jamaican forward comes into DC looking to accelerate his MLS career. Having been in the league since 2012, he has netted 24 times in 136 games but now could be the time for him to become a more influential provider. Last season saw him used in a bit-part role at Portland but you could suggest more is expected of him here as he is the only forward DC have signed so far.

David Ousted: This looks set to be the new number one for DC with the departure of Bill Hamid. David Ousted made 142 appearances for Vancouver over five seasons with the club and at 33, the Dane has plenty of experience under his belt. He has been one of the more consistent ‘keepers in MLS over the last few years and a fresh start will do him good.

Oniel Fisher: Another defensive addition for Olsen, Oniel Fisher comes in from Seattle. The 26 year old can play in either of the fullback positions. Having made just 27 appearances in his last three seasons – all with Seattle – now will be the time for him to lock down a permanent starting place. He joins fellow Jamaican Mattocks and has shown his ability to use his pace to provide attacking support from the flanks.

Junior Moreno: A player many might not be overly familiar with is Junior Moreno. The 24-year-old Venezuelan comes in with international experience and could be the midfield option that DC have been missing. A box-to-box/central midfielder who has been noted for making an impact on the game both offensively and defensively. His flexibility to play in two key positions will be a breath of fresh air for Olsen and at just 24 he has the potential to become a long-term success, providing he settles in well. One to watch…

Notable Departures

Bill Hamid: The departing fan favourite and last line of defence, Bill Hamid, is moving on after eight seasons at the club. He made 184 appearances for DC and will go down in the history books for the club, as their first Homegrown Player. He won Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014 and is tipped to be the long term option for USMNT. With all that in mind it comes as a bit of a surprise that he has left but now might be the right time for both parties to try something new. Time will tell with this decision…

Chris Rolfe: The MLS veteran has called it a day at 35 after making 239 appearances across a 13-year career. A sad end for Rolfe but the right decision, having not played since April 2016 due to a concussion, his experience is going to be missed.

Lloyd Sam: The English winger departs DC after two seasons with the club. He played a key part in pushing DC into the playoffs in 2016 despite only playing in 13 games after joining from RBNY. He started 23 of his 30 games in 2017 but at 33, D.C. have decided now is the time to find a longer term replacement.

Patrick Nyarko: Another winger who has been shown the exit door. Patrick Nyarko spent the past two seasons with DC, who have decided not to renew his contact. He departs having scored five goals in 40 appearances and he has been a good provider but perhaps not enough in the opinion of DC having decided to allow him to move on.

Sean Franklin: A regular starter at right back since his inception into MLS in 2008, Sean Franklin is going to be missed by the DC fans. He’s been at the club since 2014 and has been a key feature of the side during those four seasons. His experience will also be a loss for the DC dressing room, highlighted no more so than being part of an LA Galaxy side who won back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011 and 12.

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2018 Key Transfers: FC Dallas

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses 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 look at all FC Dallas’ key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Not only did FC Dallas fail to retain their Supporters’ Shield title last term, they failed to even make the playoffs for the first time in four years. Despite a strong start to the campaign, a 10-game winless run through the end of the summer saw them plummet down the Western Conference and they eventually finished seventh. They only narrowly missed out on the playoffs but the aim in 2018 will be to bounce back. Some key faces have left this winter, but replacements have been brought in and Oscar Pareja will be hoping to see the best of Dallas once more.

Key signings

Santiago Mosquera: FC Dallas have spent a reported $4 million on signing Colombian attacker Santiago Mosquera ahead of the 2018 season. The 23-year-old will occupy a Young Designated Player slot and should be an exciting addition to the Dallas team as they prepare to fight their way back into contention in the West. Mosquera scored nine goals in the Colombian league for Millonarios last term and should suit Oscar Pareja’s system well.

Jimmy Maurer: Having spent a week on loan with Dallas last season, Maurer joined on a permanent deal this offseason. He is most commonly known for his 105 appearances for the New York Cosmos in the NASL. Signing on a free transfer, we can only envisage him as a good backup option to Jesse Gonzalez.

Anton Nedyalkov:Nedyalkov is a Bulgarian international who joined from CSKA Sofia just before Christmas. At only 24, he brings a lot of promise as he was voted Sofia’s Fans Player of the Season in 2016/17. His signing comes not only as a positive for Dallas but for MLS, showing the attraction for young talent from Europe is increasingly stronger.

Reto Ziegler: Former Tottenham Hotspur left back, Ziegler has travelled around Europe over the past decade. Signing for Spurs as an 18 year old in 2004, Ziegler showed signs of elite talent but never lived up to the potential. Stints at the likes of Sampdoria, Juventus, Fenerbahce and most recently FC Sion have culminated in a move to Texas, where he will hope to play regular football.

Francis Atuahene: Fresh faced striker Atuahene joins courtesy of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, coming in as the fourth overall pick. At 5’9 he is not the biggest, but for what he lacks in stature he makes up for in pace. Ghanaian born Atuahene moved to the states via the Right to Dream Academy and will be hoping to make an immediate impact in 2018 with the Western Conference outfit.

Notable Departures 

Chris Seitz: Experienced keeper Seitz has left for Houston as his contract has expired. An MLS player for over ten years now, Dallas have lost an old head and a very good keeper at that. But with the emergence of Jesse Gonzalez over the past few seasons, Seitz has seen playing time decrease rapidly and has rightly moved on.

Hernan Grana: The highly regarded Argentine right back saw his loan end and his option declined to make his stay permanent. He returns to his native Argentina, as he did when his short stay in Columbus came to end as a result of homesickness in 2015. Known for his aggressive attacking play, Grana was a key player for Dallas last term. He played 30 games, registering one goal and four assists.

Javier Morales: No surprises here. As an MLS Cup winner in 2009 with Real Salt Lake, Morales will go down as one of the MLS greats after 10 seasons in the league. Having only played a season in Dallas, Morales finished with 15 appearances and a solitary goal. He was brought in as creative cover for the injured Mauro Diaz a year ago but is no longer required in Texas.

Walker Zimmerman: Recently capped USMNT international Zimmerman would be a loss to any MLS squad and LAFC have picked up a very good young player with $500,000 in allocation money coming to Dallas. Since joining as a first-round draft pick in 2013, he made 89 appearances over five seasons, scoring seven goals and one assist.

2018 Key Transfers: Columbus Crew

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the key additions and losses 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 Columbus Crew’s key transfers and what it could mean for them in the 2018 MLS season…

Columbus Crew are heading into the 2018 season with plenty of uncertainty still surrounding the club. Relocation concerns are still hanging over the franchise and key players have moved on to rival teams. Gregg Berhalter is preparing for his fifth-straight season as the Crew head coach but he knows the team needs some more firepower if they are to make the playoffs once again. They finished fifth last term after a strong end to the season and beat Atlanta and New York City FC in the playoffs. However, they couldn’t get past Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference Championship game. They ended the season on a high, on the field, and need to try and hit the ground running with a new-look team this time around…

Key Signings

Mike Grella: Grella has proven himself as a dangerous playmaker in MLS since joining the Red Bulls ahead of the 2015 season. He scored 16 goals and added 13 assists in his first two seasons with the Red Bulls but was ruled out for the season back in June last year. He was picked up by Colorado in the re-entry draft but instantly traded to Columbus in return for a second-round draft pick in 2019. The Crew will hope he can stay injury-free and settle quickly into a new-look Columbus attack.

Gyasi Zardes: Alongside Grella will be fellow new arrival Gyasi Zardes, who has been sent to Columbus from the Galaxy following a big trade for Ola Kamara. Zardes had been with his hometown club for five-straight years, but saw his involvement drop off massively over the past two seasons as a result of injury troubles and poor form. He needs to play more games, and should get that opportunity with the Black and Gold. He also needs to play in his natural attacking position, after being deployed at right-back during the latter stages of his time with the Galaxy. He has the potential to be a hit, but it’s a major ask for him to replace Kamara’s goals.

Milton Valenzuela: This is a player to look out for in 2018. The 19-year-old left-back has joined the Crew as a Designated Player on loan from Newell’s Old Boys with the option to buy. Valenzuela will be classed a Young Designated Player this season and is expected to be a regular starter at left-back, replacing the departed Jukka Raitala and Waylon Francis. He is an attacking full-back, who should suit Gregg Berhalter’s attacking style of play perfectly. Expect him to impress.

Notable Departures

Waylon Francis: The loss of Francis means Columbus are left thin at left-back. Raitala also left and although Valenzuela has arrived, the absence of Francis in the dressing room could be a blow after spending the past four seasons with the club. He has joined the Seattle Sounders, where he will hope to see more game time after two consecutive years of struggling to nail down a regular starting berth with the Crew.

Ola Kamara: Kamara’s exit had looked on the cards for some time and it was made official following the 2018 MLS SuperDraft as LA Galaxy sent Zardes and $400,000 in allocation money the Crew’s way. Kamara scored 34 goals in 59 appearances for Columbus over two seasons and his absence will more than likely be felt. Particularly if Zardes fails to hit the ground running.

Kekuta Manneh: Manneh was expected to be a hit in Columbus after joining from the Whitecaps last year but he managed just four goals and three assists in 19 games. He was offered a contract to remain with the Crew for the 2018 season but has decided to make the move the Liga MX instead with Pachuca. His loss adds to depth problems in attack as things stand, with Kamara and Meram’s departures leaving Columbus short of options in attack.

Justin Meram: Columbus made it clear they wouldn’t let Meram leave the club unless they received a significant offer this winter. That was even after the winger had made it clear he was looking for a move, as a result of relocation concerns and because he was looking for a new challenge. Everyone ended up happy. Meram got a new challenge and Columbus received a significant offer as Orlando City sent $1.05 million in allocation money as well as an international roster spot. Meram’s loss will no doubt be felt, both on the field and off it. He was a fan favourite after being drafted in 2011, going on to score 37 goals in 188 games.

2018 Key Transfers: Colorado Rapids

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses 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 look at all Colorado Rapids’ key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Colorado Rapids go into the new MLS Season with a new manager as Anthony Hudson has replaced Pablo Mastroeni permanently after Steve Cooke filled the role in the interim following Mastroeni’s departure in August. Hudson was most recently the head coach for the New Zealand national team, and has also held coaching positions at Tottenham Hotspur and with the Bahrain national team. At 36, he becomes the youngest head coach in Rapids history. His job will be to get the Rapids back to the level they were at in 2016 after a shocking 2017 season. They finished 10th in the Western Conference, scoring just 31 goals.

Key signings

Jack McBean: McBean has been brought in via a trade from LA Galaxy. The 23yearold striker has been on the fringes of the Galaxy team for a few years now and will relish a fresh chance. In return, Galaxy received a conditional fourth-round draft pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. With two goals in 18 appearances last term (10 of those from the bench), McBean will be looking to start more games in Colorado.

Jack Price: The English midfielder has spent the entirety of his career to date with Championship high-flyers Wolves in England. Having fell out of favour with the midlands outfit, Price has crossed the Atlantic. A central midfielder who played as a winger at a young age, Price will be used to operating in a 4-4-2 system and could flourish in an open league like MLS. Having only played five games for Wolves this year he should be fresh and raring to go in time for the start of the 2018 season.

Danny Wilson: Scotland international Wilson has joined from Rangers. As a promising youngster he got a dream move from the Scottish giants to Liverpool in the Premier League. But after spending three years with them and only playing two games for the Reds he moved back north. Most recently, he has had three successful years back at Rangers winning the Scottish Championship in the 2015-16 season.

Andrew Dykstra: He will be a backup to USMNT keeper, Tim Howard but nonetheless, he will be a solid option. Formally of DC and Chicago Fire, Dykstra spent last season with Sporting Kansas City, and also went on loan to Swope Park Rangers – the recently formed SKC affiliate. SKC received a second-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft in return.

Notable Departures 

Joshua Gatt: Josh Gatt is a quick winger whose career has somehow drifted of course. Once a prodigy lighting up the Norwegian top tier playing under Ole Gunner Solskjær. Gatt has left after only 15 appearances for the Rapids, following an early season trade from Minnesota United. With only the single goal for the Rapids in a frustrating season, there’s no surprise why he has been let go.

Mohammed Saeid: Saeid is the former Columbus Crew midfielder who was part of the trade that saw Gatt join the Rapids from Minnesota. And much like Gatt, Saeid was disappointing and has been let go. Playing 29 games and also chipping in with just the solitary goal last term, Saeid has joined Lyngby BK after they snapped him up in December – a Danish Superliga side that finished in a respectable third last season.

Alan Gordon: The powerful striker has parted ways with the Rapids after just one season in which seems to be a theme after such a disappointing 2017 campaign for the club. The two-time MLS Cup winner played 26 times last season, scoring three. Seen as merely a good option for the bench these days, it will be a shame if he isn’t picked up by another MLS side but at 36 years old, retirement is by no means out of the question.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Alan Gordon Axel Sjoberg

Bobby Burling: The defender is out of contract with the Rapids and it seems as though it will stay that way. Former Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes defender Burling would still be a good squad player for any MLS side. But at 33, doubts remain over his fitness, having spent periods of last season out on the sidelines.

2018 Key Transfers: Atlanta United

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses 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 look at all Atlanta United‘s key transfers and what it could mean for them in their second MLS campaign…

Atlanta United’s debut MLS season was undoubtedly a success. The Five Stripes grew into one of the most exciting teams the league has ever seen but more importantly, they created a passionate and vibrant soccer culture in the city of Atlanta. They set records for the highest average attendance per game as well as the total season attendance record. Mercedes-Benz Stadium won’t be an easy place for anyone to visit again in 2018. Atlanta’s aim will be to ensure they build on an excellent debut campaign by once again making the playoffs, but with the expectation to go further than the Knockout Round this time around…

Key signings

Ezequiel Barco: The biggest signing of the MLS offseason so far. The 18-year-old Argentine winger joins Atlanta from Independiente as the most expensive signing in MLS history at around $15 million. His capture has turned heads across the league and surely in Europe too, given how highly regarded he is. This is not the sort of signing MLS clubs make. Barco is an agile, creative midfielder who can play wide or behind the striker. He is rapid with and without the ball and will undoubtedly get Atlanta fans off their feet. The prospect of Barco, Almiron and Martinez together will strike fear into any opponent and his signing should only increase the number of chances the Five Stripes create.

Darlington Nagbe: Not only have Atlanta improved their attacking threat by adding Barco, but they’ve acquired one of the league’s most consistent and dangerous playmakers in Nagbe. Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra said he was their top target this offseason and they wasted no time in making a blockbuster trade with Portland back in December. Nagbe is entering his eighth consecutive MLS season and first away from Portland. If he can settle into his new surroundings quickly, he’ll ensure Atlanta are one of the league’s top contenders, as they plan to be.

Franco Escobar: Atlanta have also focused on their backline this offseason and the addition of Franco Escobar is important as the young Argentine should slot straight into the starting lineup. He will be versatile enough to play as part of a three-man defensive setup, or alternatively as a right-back in a more traditional four-man defence. He arrives from Newell’s Old Boys where he broke through three years ago and will be expecting to develop well under the guidance of Tata Martino.

Notable Departures

Yamil Asad: The loss of Asad is significant for Atlanta but it might not be felt if Nagbe and Barco hit the ground running in the way that is expected of them. Asad was on loan for the 2017 season from Velez Sarsfield and despite Atlanta’s best efforts to agree a deal that would bring him back for 2018 and beyond, Asad has decided to move on. The club couldn’t agree a suitable deal with the midfielder and his rights are now being sold by the club. He scored seven goals and added 13 assists in 2017 and so those numbers will need to be replaced by the likes of Nagbe and Barco.

Carlos Carmona: He started 31 games last season but Carmona won’t be returning to the Atlanta midfield for the 2018 season. The club agreed to sell the experienced Chilean to Colo-Colo after weeks of speculation, with personal reasons the main factor in the end. His loss leaves a hole in the defensive midfield spot for Atlanta, with Jeff Larentowicz the only established name ready to play the position. Expect additions in that area before the season begins.

Tyrone Mears: He might have only played in 21 of the 34 regular season games last season but the loss of Mears will have removed some key experience from the Atlanta dressing room. The English defender scored one goal and added one assist last season and has now joined Minnesota after the Five Stripes declined his option for 2018. He might not be the biggest miss on the field but his absence might well be felt off of it.

DC United set to sign Yamil Asad in exciting $1.5m move

DC United‘s attack should be a lot better in 2018. Argentinian winger Yamil Asad is set to join the club in a big-money move that will see the Eastern Conference side pay out around $1.5 million for his services, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.

The 23 year old is set to join DC on loan from Velez Sarsfield for $300,000, with the option to make the move permanent in December for a further $700,000. But as well as paying his parent club, DC United will send $500,000 in allocation money to Atlanta United to acquire his MLS rights.

Asad spent the 2017 season on loan with Atlanta and impressed on the left wing alongside fellow attackers Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron. He ended the season with seven goals and 13 assists in 32 regular season games.

Atlanta were desperate to retain Asad’s services for the 2018 season but had difficulty in striking a deal with the player. After negotiations broke down twice, the club made the decision to sell on his rights. Minnesota had expressed a strong interest but it looks like DC have won the race for the dynamic forward.

Asad will undoubtedly improve DC’s attacking play. The club finished bottom of the Eastern Conference in 2017 and failed to score in half of their games. They were the league’s joint-lowest scoring team last season, scoring just 31 times. Asad contributed to 20 goals alone so he should instantly improve the team’s fortunes in the final third.

Ben Olsen will have a wealth of attacking options to choose from this season. Darren Mattocks has joined the club and will likely share striking responsibilities with Patrick Mullins and Bruno Miranda. Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta and Zoltan Stieber will then compete with Asad in behind the forwards.

DC are preparing to move into new stadium Audi Field in July but will have to play 12 of their first 14 games away from home as a result. The technical ability and eye for goal that Asad possesses will therefore prove to be vital if Olsen sets the team up to counter-attack on the road.

Radio Cascadia Episode 140: A busy week in Portland and is Kei Kamara ready to lead the Whitecaps?

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era. Since 2011 (the first year all three clubs had made the switch over to the top flight from the USL), Cascadian MLS sides have won a combined total of five major trophies. Additional honours in that time frame include two CONCACAF Champions League semifinal appearances, three consecutive MLS Cup berths, and six consecutive Western Conference Championship appearances.

The latter two statistics above are active streaks, and clubs in Cascadia have just over a month of preseason left to prepare for their chance to continue these streaks on the stage of the 2018 MLS campaign.

In this week’s episode, host Jackson Felts of Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR is joined by Sounders 2 announcer Andrew Harvey, MLSsoccer.com’s Ari Liljenwall and Radio Cascadia founder Steven Agen as they dissect the busiest week of 2018 so far. Five new players have joined Cascadian rosters since the last release, and there’s even a first preseason match to review!

Michael McColl of AFTN.ca calls in to give his take on the leadership situation in the Whitecaps’ locker room, and the extent to which Kei Kamara can fill the void. We spotlight Vancouver’s other new striker as well; Venezuelan Anthony Blondell as he looks poised for a breakout season. A group analysis of Whitecaps boss Carl Robinson’s ambitions for the season closes out the segment.

Matt Hoffman of Stumptown Footy reveals his favourite Timbers kit design as they released their new away strip for 2018 this week. The group pays due respect to the sweet gold accents on the new shirt, but most of the segment is devoted to analysis of the four new signings by the club in the span of only a few days.

Sounders have finally made a splash with their brand new chunk of discretionary Targeted Allocation Money, bringing in versatile Norwegian midfielder Magnus Eikrom on a free transfer. The news broke just in time for the group to develop opinions on where he’ll fit in Seattle’s attacking scheme in 2018. Elsewhere in the segment, Andrew Harvey gives his scouting report on new Homegrown Player Handwalla Bwana, who recorded a goal and an assist in Sounders’ preseason victory over Club Tijuana’s U-20 side on Sunday.

Find the latest RC show every Tuesday at radiocascadia.libsyn.com and follow the guys on Twitter @Radio_Cascadia.

Episode 140 Playlist:

00:00 – Introduction: Miami MLS expansion, Crew update

07:45 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Robbo’s ambition, Kei Kamara’s leadership, Anthony Blondell’s journey

27:45 – Portland Timbers: Four new faces, away kit revealed, 2018 Captain picks

47:05 – Seattle Sounders: First look at new TAM midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Bwana stars in 3-1 preseason win

NYCFC losing Jack Harrison to Man City in £4m deal ahead of loan move to Middlesbrough

Jack Harrison’s time with New York City FC looks to be over. The talented young English winger landed in the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning ahead of a £4 million dealthat will see him join NYCFC’s parent club, Manchester City.

But Harrison’s travels don’t stop there. He is expected to immediately be loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough, who are now managed by Tony Pulis. Harrison will remain at the Riverside until the summer, when he is expected to join up with the Man City squad for preseason training.

The loss of Harrison will be a major blow to NYCFC. The 21-year-old winger has developed incredibly well under the guidance of Patrick Vieira and has learnt an enormous amount from teammates such as David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

But his impressive displays have come at a price for New York City FC fans. And that price is £4 million. Harrison will no longer be preparing for what would have been his third MLS season. Instead, he will be thrust straight into the middle of Middlesbrough’s Championship campaign.

Boro are currently eighth in the second tier of English football but are in the playoff race, as they sit just four points outside the top six with 18 games to play. They will be hoping the addition of Harrison can help to inspire them to a Premier League return at the first time of asking following last season’s relegation.

Harrison was also a target of Stoke City, but the Potters weren’t prepared to match NYCFC’s valuation for the player this month. As a result the former Manchester United academy attacker will join Manchester City after seven years in the United States.

In total, Jack Harrison scored 14 goals in 59 MLS games for NYCFC, assisting a further 13 goals over the past two seasons. He was a key part of the New York City squad but they will have to now prepare for life without the exciting young Englishman.

Zlatan to MLS: Mourinho gives green light for Ibrahimovic to join LA Galaxy ahead of 2018 season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic appears as close as ever to completing a move to Major League Soccer. The LA Galaxy are reportedly in advanced talks to complete a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho suggesting he would be happy to allow him to leave imminently.

The news was revealed by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman late on Sunday night, suggesting that both the Galaxy and the player’s representatives have been negotiating a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS.

This isn’t the first time Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to MLS. But given the circumstances, it feels as if it really is now or never. The iconic forward is 36 and is still recovering from a serious ACL tear suffered last April and is no longer at the top of the pecking order at Man Utd. The recent arrival of Alexis Sanchez has done little to help his chances.

That’s where the LA Galaxy can come in and offer the attractive option of regular first-team football alongside a quality standard of living. Ibrahimovic has made no secret of his desire to one day play in MLS and he now looks as close as ever to making that a reality.

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Mourinho gives green light

One potential stumbling block for the Galaxy would be the fact he is contracted to Manchester United until the end of June. However, Jose Mourinho has confirmed he would be happy to allow the striker to leave before the summer.

“He told me nothing about it,” Mourinho said on Monday. “The first time I read or heard something about that was from the media. He never mentioned that to me so I don’t know.

“Zlatan is in the last year of his contract. If it’s true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country we are here to help and to create conditions for that to happen, not to make his life difficult.”

The 2018 MLS season begins on March 3, with LA Galaxy’s opening match taking place away at the Portland Timbers on Sunday, March 4.

Ibrahimovic has only made seven appearances this season since recovering from that knee injury. He would therefore benefit from joining up with LA Galaxy for preseason preparations to ensure he is sharp and ready for the 2018 campaign, if a deal can be struck in the next couple of weeks.

Can Chicago Fire lure Bundesliga winger Jakub Błaszczykowski to MLS?

For many of the teams who haven’t participated in the latter stages of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the winter transfer speculation is already in full swing, as fans begin to wonder which trades will be made ahead of the 2018 campaign. Following Chicago Fire’s 4-0 Knockout Round defeat against New York Red Bulls at the end of October, they have already begun making enquiries about potential signings.

Chicago Fire concluded the regular season with a respectable third position in the Eastern Conference table, but despite also being the third-highest scoring team in MLS, their goal difference numbers took a hammering due to a leaky defence. Strengthening at the back will be a priority if the team is to push further for honours next year, but management are also looking at bringing in key attacking players.

One such attacking option is winger Jakub Błaszczykowski, with rumours initially surfacing in July and seemingly gathering pace. In November, there was further speculation in his home country, with the Polish international reportedly pondering his future options. Although one move apparently being considered is a return to his former club, Wisła Kraków, there appears to be a growing belief he is seriously considering Chicago Fire as his next destination; partly due to having family already living in the Windy City.

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However, such a move by Chicago Fire won’t be without inevitable difficulties. Błaszczykowski still has two years on his contract with current club, Wolfsburg, who have struggled to build any momentum in the Bundesliga so far this season. With more draws than either wins or defeats this term and sitting uncomfortably in mid-table, Bundesliga betting odds at 66/1 for a top-six finish have lengthened considerably, compared to the start of the campaign.

Wolfsburg could demand a transfer fee to release the 31-year-old from his contract, but after signing German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in March of 2017 from Manchester United, and with an option to extend his stay for another year, Chicago Fire have already shown they’re not afraid of splashing out on important signings. Błaszczykowski would undoubtedly be another important capture, if they can push it across the finishing line.

Something that could aid Chicago Fire in their pursuit of the Polish player, is his lack of action during the current Bundesliga campaign. Błaszczykowski has slipped down the Wolfsburg pecking order this season and also struggled with some injuries, making just five starts and two substitute appearances in the Bundesliga, plus two further appearances in the DFB Pokal. This is possibly a key factor contributing to the player pondering his future elsewhere.

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Undoubtedly the biggest hurdle facing the MLS club might be a desire to get a quick decision from the player. Ideally, they would want to have a move for Błaszczykowski done and dusted in the European winter transfer window, making him available for their 2018 preseason plans. Still a regular international with the Polish national team, their participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer could prove to be the deciding factor, at least in the mind of the player himself. He might feel his possibilities of featuring at the World Cup could be hampered, were he to accept an immediate offer from Chicago Fire, rather than stay in Europe and fight for his place at Wolfsburg for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. Much convincing and cajoling will be required on the part of the MLS club, if they’re to get their man any time soon. Otherwise, the speculation surrounding the future of Błaszczykowski looks set to continue for at least another couple of months.