USMNT striker Josh Sargent is officially off and running with a preseason hat trick ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, though the question of where he will play his club football this season still remains.
Sargent is currently with Werder Bremen as the former Bundesliga club prepares for life in the 2. Bundesliga, Germany’s second division, following relegation from the top tier in May. The 21-year-old was initially linked with a transfer away from Werder Bremen to ease the financial burden of relegation, but such a move has yet to materialize.
Werder Bremen took on fourth-division side Oberneuland on Tuesday, and Sargent wasted almost no time whatsoever in getting the goal party started. The final score was 12-0 to Werder Bremen.
Sargent scored with a well hit and perfectly place finish to the far post after just two minutes; goal no. 2 was a straightforward finish between the goalkeeper’s legs with 36 minutes on the clock; seconds later, from the ensuing restart, he was again played in behind the defense for a far-post snipe.
Josh Sargent hat trick vs FC Oberneuland pic.twitter.com/jzqMjEpK4G
— Undead Kranks (@dis_possessed) July 13, 2021
Is a transfer best for Sargent, USMNT?
It’s tempting to immediately shout, “Yes, dummy, of course it is,” but it’s worth considering that a season in the second division — where Werder Bremen should be heavy favorites for immediate promotion back to the Bundesliga, and Sargent will be one of the best attacking talents in the league — could do wonders for his confidence and future transfer value.
In two and a half Bundesliga seasons, Sargent managed to score all of 11 goals (in 70 appearances). Sargent’s current “level” appears to be somewhere just below the Bundesliga but still above the 2. Bundesliga. In baseball terms, he’s a AAAA player at 21 years old, meaning there’s still loads of time left to reach the heights to which he aspires.
Werder Bremen were often a club overmatched in the top flight, so it’s difficult to discern whether Sargent’s struggles was the product of playing in a subpar side, or if the center forward’s lack of production made for a subpar side.
Chicken, egg? Egg, chicken?
Clearly, the standard of play in the 2. Bundesliga won’t be what Sargent faced over the last three years, but Werder Bremen’s squad remains largely intact, with the lone exception being the departure of playmaking midfielder Milot Rashica to Norwich City, as Emi Buendia’s replacement. The quality of players with whom Sargent trains and plays every week won’t take a massive hit, and he could conceivably score 20-plus goals this season and enter into USMNT camp with the confidence and expectation of hitting the back of the net with newfound regularity.
Moving to a new club now, with preseason already underway, will present an entirely new set of challenges for Sargent to get up to speed and force his way into the starting lineup ahead of the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying in September. The best time to move was likely weeks ago. Given the lack of credible rumors at that time, and even still today, it’s also quite likely that interest in Sargent isn’t exactly sky-high.