Transfer chat: USMNT players potentially (or already) on the move this summer

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The 2022 World Cup is set to kick off in 157 days, and with the USMNT officially qualified and drawn in the group stage for Qatar, Roster Watch 2020 is officially on.

[ MORE: USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers in January, February ]

With that in mind, there are a few players — some of them key to the first team, and others on the outskirts of the squad hoping to force their way in — who might benefit from a change of scenery during the summer transfer window.

Does Christian Pulisic need to leave Chelsea to be a full-time starter? Has Tyler Adams’ time at RB Leipzig come to an end? Is John Brooks back in consideration once he signs for a new club? What about Weston McKennie and his future at Juventus?

[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule, standings ]

Who are those players, and what’s the likelihood they make said move over the next two months?


USMNT players already completing transfers this summer

Brenden Aaronson – Red Bull Salzburg to Leeds United – MORE
Matt Turner – New England Revolution to Arsenal – MORE


Christian Pulisic, Chelsea

Here’s the bright side of Christian Pulisic’s present situation at Chelsea: It is not currently the worst it’s been while at Stamford Bridge. The not-so-sunny side is that it’s not currently great and at no time has it really been great, and a lot of it has been frustrating.

Some will say, “That’s part of being a professional athlete at the highest level, you have to constantly fight for your place,” but when there are other factors also at play (hello, the World Cup?), perhaps it is simply time and in the best interest of all parties involved to go their separate ways. That’s one possible outcome.

Another (just as likely, maybe) outcome is that Pulisic stays at Chelsea, wows Thomas Tuchel in preseason to the point he has to start the USMNT star and Pulisic slices through Premier League (and Champions League) defenses for three and a half months before hopping on the plane to Qatar. The range of outcomes on Pulisic staying, or going, are equally vast and a big part of why the next few weeks will be so interesting.

Transfer need: 6/10  | Transfer likelihood: 6/10


Sergiño Dest, Barcelona

Here is what we believe to be true right now: 1) Xavi either doesn’t rate Sergiño Dest or doesn’t think he can play the style of football he intends for Barcelona to play, and 2) Dest is a fairly comfortable leader in the clubhouse to start at right back (assuming he stays healthy). Also, assuming that he plays (and plays well) between now and Nov. 21, when the USMNT takes on Wales to close out the opening day of the tournament.

Dest, for his part, is reportedly not keen on a move away from Barcelona as he enjoys his Catalan lifestyle and recently began building a new home in a nearby town. Something has to give, and it’s unlikely to be the manager who’s also a club legend thanks, in large part, to his mastery of the aforementioned tactical style which is globally synonymous with Barcelona, more than a club.

Transfer need: 9/10  | Transfer likelihood: 6/10

(from January 2022)

Dest was loosely linked with a move away from Camp Nou not long after the appointment of Xavi as Barcelona manager. Not a lot has changed in the subsequent weeks, as Dest is still struggling to grasp the new manager’s tactics and put in a consistent shift (as is the case for virtually every Barcelona player). … Simply put, Dest is slated to start the USMNT first game at the World Cup in 11 months and there are far more questions surrounding him than there are answers.

Transfer need: 6/10 | Transfer likelihood: 4/10


Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig

After a strong start to the season for RB Leipzig, Tyler Adams suddenly found himself out of Domenico Todesco’s plans when fellow American Jesse Marsch was fired in December. Todesco prefers possession over pressing and counter-attacking, which could spell the end for Adams at Leipzig.

Adams has all the talent (not to mention the intangibles) to play in any league in Europe. For him, it’s about finding the right fit where he will 1) play game in and game out in a very competitive league, and 2) fit the requirements as an all-action defensive organizer and ball-winner. Lots of big clubs can use a player like that, so a transfer should be plenty possible.

Transfer need: 8/10 | Transfer likelihood: 7/10

(from January 2022)

Leipzig are still a selling club on a wider European scale. Sure, they spend plenty to bring players in, but it’s always with the idea that they’ll leave for more. Adams only cost Leipzig $3 million. Virtually the entire the entire fee received would represent profit made. So, you can see why the club might be motivated, especially considering something of a rebuild will be required next summer anyway.

With all of that said, if Adams remains a constant starter when healthy (he has appeared in all but one of Leipzig’s last 11 games in all competitions), he’ll be best served finishing the season at RB Leipzig before re-assessing in the summer.

Transfer need: 5/10 | Transfer likelihood: 4/10


John Brooks, Wolfsburg

John Brooks is set to become a free agent when his contract expires in just under two weeks’ time. As of June 17, Brooks has not signed a pre-contract agreement with any club.

Miles Robinson’s achilles injury put Brooks back on Berhalter’s radar, with Walker Zimmerman and Chris Richards ascending to the top of the list down the stretch of World Cup qualifying, followed by Aaron Long through the June friendlies and Nations League games. Brooks fell out of favor with Berhalter sometime in the winter, but he is surely once again in consideration (pending he lands favorably with a new club).

However, the latest news on Brooks sounds promising…

(from January 2022)

When World Cup qualifying began, Brooks was presumably locked into his starting spot as the lone center back with considerable international experience. … Then, his performances dipped for club and country. … Then more bad news: reports out of disharmony and “an attitude problem” back in Germany (below thread).

Transfer need: 8/10 | Transfer likelihood: ???


Weston McKennie, Juventus

For whatever reason, Weston McKennie’s name comes up in the transfer rumor mill rather frequently. Part of it has to do with the frequent chop-and-change approach of Juventus’ transfer practices, and part of it is also McKennie’s form, which can be up and down at times, as well as injuries leaving him unavailable a little too often.

There have been rumors of Tottenham due to Fabio Paratici having previously signed McKennie when he worked at Juventus. Alas, much of what was said in January (below) remains true to this day.

Transfer need: 5/10 | Transfer likelihood: 6/10

(from January 2022)

McKennie’s situation is quite similar to that of Adams, with the exception that Juventus (presumably) already have their first-choice, long-term manager (Massimiliano Allegri) in the job. If Allegri rates McKennie, he’ll stay and that’s that. If he doesn’t, you get reports like the one linked above (and not for the first time).

Transfer need: 5/10 | Transfer likelihood: 4/10