Every year towards the end of January, things get crazy for most clubs around the world. In Europe, January is the only change teams get to improve their squad before beginning the second leg of a grueling season. What makes this year different is the number of players moving from the MLS to Europe in high profile deals.
Throughout this post, I will cover the biggest deals that happened involving the MLS and even a big deal that didn’t happen. Starting off with a player that we all fell in love with during his two seasons with 2018 MLS champs, Atlanta FC.
A high profile deal in 2017 when he signed, Almirón cost $8 million from Lanús, an Argentinian club in their top division. Today it was officially announced that Almirón was joining Premier League club Newcastle United for $27 million.
We are delighted to announce the signing of forward Miguel Almirón from @ATLUTD.
The 24-year-old has penned a five-and-a-half-year deal which will keep him at St. James' Park until June 2024.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 31, 2019
This is a huge move for the MLS and Atlanta United. A move of this caliber proves that players can use the MLS as a springboard to bigger leagues such as the English Premier League. As much as people hate to admit it, that’s where the MLS can make its money and improve the league.
Can’t wait to watch Almirón in the Premier League and big ups to Newcastle United for beating Manchester City this week. Hopefully, it will be an exciting few years for the Paraguayan on Tyneside.
One of the best players to ever play in the MLS, Giovinco has moved on to Al-Hilal in Saudia Arabia for a marginal fee of $3 million. Giovinco joins other prominent players at Al-Hilal such as Bafétimbi Gomis and André Carrillo, who both have Premier League experience respectively.
— AlHilal Saudi Club (@Alhilal_EN) January 31, 2019
At first, this transfer didn’t make a ton of sense but after looking at it more it made plenty of sense. Reports were that Giovinco and Toronto FC couldn’t get close on a salary for a contract extension. On top of that, Giovinco is 32-years-old and just had his worst statistical season while in the MLS.
Getting money for a player who is going to leave for free in 12 months is always a good business decision, especially one on the wrong side of 30. If Giovinco and the team don’t see eye to eye, it was time to move on. Good luck to the atomic ant in Saudi Arabia, hopefully, those paychecks have a lot of zeroes!!
The third and final deal we are talking about is a deal that didn’t end up happening. How did this happen you ask? Well, it starts off with a unnamed third party facilitating the deal. I’m no transfer expert, but usually, someone not representing the player or either team doesn’t start off the transfer.
Reports say that someone reached out to D.C. United, telling the club they could get Acosta to PSG and get the club the money they wanted for him. This person also claimed to be very close to PSG, which ended up being a lie. The promise of PSG paying the fee D.C. United wanted, also a lie.
Due to all these issues, the deal eventually fell apart. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, we will learn more details about this situation. If you are looking for more in-depth reasoning behind this, check out this article by Pablo Maurer who covers the situation thoroughly.
This January was crazier for the MLS then any other I can remember. Hopefully, in years to come, we will continue to see more and more players making the leap from the MLS to major European leagues.
Not only did we see these deals go down, but you can see the full list of players here.