Every year, especially during the offseason, the MLS rumor mill revolves around the potential transfer of significant players to Europe. As we’ve discussed, nothing about that is bad for the league — the success of its exports increases its reputation, and the profits help bring in new quality. But it does mean some of the league’s best players face questions about whether they’re going to make a move to a European club.
Let’s take a look at some contenders to make the move this time around.
Bryan Reynolds, FC Dallas
Another teenage FC Dallas right back appears ready to take a big step in his career. Reynolds, the successor to Reggie Cannon, has reportedly been the subject of offers and transfer consideration from Juventus, AS Roma, Marseille, AC Milan, and Club Brugge. A former forward and winger, he has a reputation for quality attacking play and speed, and picked up three assists this season.
He is a product of FC Dallas’ heralded academy, and a teammate of Weston McKennie there. It remains to be seen whether he can match the success and quality of fellow American right back Sergino Dest, but Reynolds should get a shot at significant playing time in a top European league.
Diego Rossi, LAFC
LAFC just finished a run to the final of the Concacaf Champions League, which (stop me if you’ve heard this before) they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Tigres. Rossi scored in that final, and now seems likely to move on this offseason. It remains to be seen where he’ll go, though, as there haven’t been too many rumors this winter linking him anywhere.
He’s a well-rounded winger who is, at 22, the perfect age to net a huge transfer fee for LAFC. He is a clever passer, smart runner, and proven goal-scorer, a superstar in MLS. Along with Carlos Vela, he led one of the league’s most dominant attacks. Fellow forward Brian Rodriguez could also see European offers, as could midfield Eduard Atuesta (who we’ll get to).
Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
Since Morris famously declined an offer from Werder Bremen at the start of his pro career to stay with his hometown Sounders, a section of USMNT fans have decried his supposed reluctance to challenge himself at the top level. His decision is hard to doubt, though — he has made massive strides as a player, grown into one of MLS’s best attackers, and won a lot of stuff in Seattle.
Now, he’s 26 and coming off arguably his best season. The Sounders have made the MLS Cup final every year that he has been healthy — he was out with an ACL injury in 2018. Morris was quoted earlier this month saying that a Europe move is a “thought in my head for sure.”
It remains to be seen where that move would come, and whether the Sounders would be interested. There was a rumor in September concerning Preston North End, from the English Championship, but that move wouldn’t make much sense. Preston can’t offer anything close to an amount that the Sounders would accept, and a Championship move for Morris would not be a great career decision.
It certainly seems possible, though, that a better offer could arise. In that scenario, Morris could really help the right team, given his lethality on counter-attacks and impressive passing ability.
Eduard Atuesta, LAFC
Atuesta’s absence in the CCL final due to a bizarre red card from the semifinals was a big contributing factor to LA’s loss. It’s not clear where might go this offseason, but he is a Europe-quality player and has long been discussed as a contender for a move.
LAFC should look for a hefty fee for the 23-year-old, who is one of their most important players. He is a great passer, a refined player with a lot of quality. It will be interesting to see whether LA would agree to a deal, and how much money it would take.