where will Ricardo Pepi land?
MLS continues to pump players who contribute in Europe. More recently, Sports KC product Gianluca Busio helped bring Venice out of series A relegation zone.
The Champions League is littered with MLS products, and players like Marc McKenzie and Sam Vines have moved to Europe in recent months. There is also Caden clark and Tajon Buchanan, two talented young players who will settle in RB Leipzig and Club Brugge after the end of the MLS season.
Let’s take a look at a few candidates to be part of the next wave.
Ricardo Pepi, FC Dallas
We will start with the obvious. Pepi submitted his transfer request and OK in personal terms with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, although that doesn’t mean FCD will sell him there. Dallas is reportedly expecting more millions and clearly wants to maximize his value, as Pepi has already proven his good faith as a voracious scorer in huge international games with the USMNT.
Big teams are said to be interested – Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Ajax have all been mentioned. Pepi is only 18 years old and knows how to put the ball in the net. He is also developing a nascent heist game and implementing hard defensive work. Whenever Dallas decides to move him, he is set to become the most expensive US transfer in MLS history, overtaking Jozy Altidore.
Cole Bassett, Colorado Rapids
This summer, Bassett decided to stay in place in Colorado despite offers from Benfica and an anonymous Dutch club. The 20-year-old wants to win with the Rapids and continue to develop his game. Colorado sit in third and Bassett is one of their best players with four goals and three assists this year in nearly 2,000 minutes.
A creative and technical midfielder, Bassett could see the rumor mill start to swirl again this winter after his playoff run with the Rapids. European interest should only increase. Speed and Anderlect have would have searched. To drill into the USMNT depth chart, Bassett will likely need to level up.
Daryl Dike, Orlando City SC
Just a few months ago, Dike was going wild in the English league, almost helping Barnsley win a promotion. Dike has since underperformed a bit for the United States, seeing Pepi sail alongside him on the forward depths board, but he continued to score goals for Orlando City. Dike’s score, physique, and heist play make him a commodity.
England would make a lot of sense for Dike’s style of play. Watford and West Brom were bound. Ideally, Dike would find a consistent starting role in the lead for a Premier League side. While Josh Sargent has shown that an EPL move isn’t always the right move, Dike’s style suits England much better than Sargent, and he can do more with less.
James Sands, NYCFC
Sands, a deep midfielder who has been one of NYCFC’s best players this season, is expected to be heavily scouted by European teams, although he has yet to be close to moving. The 21-year-old has the passing nuance and defensive maturity to slip straight into high-quality football matches. Gregg Berhalter has already trusted him to provide big minutes in the United States, starting a World Cup road qualifier in Honduras last month.
It should be noted that Sands was in the same class of local NYCFC players as Gio Reyna and Joe Scally, both of whom are now Bundesliga starters. Sands could be on the verge of joining them as soon as possible.
Justin Che, FC Dallas
Bayern Munich are clubhouse favorites to sign Che, a versatile 17-year-old defender who has played quality minutes for FCD this season. Che was loaned out to Bayern last winter and impressed everyone, moving from the Under-19s to Team B. After Dallas rejects lowball offers, Che’s value goes up and there could be a bidding war for him this winter.
In addition to Bayern, there are would have other interested Bundesliga and Premier League clubs. Che is another product of the successful Dallas Academy and benefited from the first-team minutes he received.