USMNT transfer watch: Pulisic, Aaronson, McKennie, Dest and other American names in the rumor mill

6 months ago 61

American players are making a push across the globe for playing time at bigger clubs both home and abroad.

USMNT veterans find themselves playing for clubs like Barcelona, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich, among many other giants of Europe. In addition, domestic clubs are paying more and more money in transfer fees for USMNT stars, giving credence to domestic transfers.

The biggest names are drawing more and more interest, which naturally leads to more and more speculation, and as a result, American players have found themselves the talk of the town across England, Germany, Spain, and other European soccer hotbeds.

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Here is a full look at the most notable transfer reports and rumors regarding American players across the world.

USMNT player transfers

Before we get to the rumors, here is a list of all American players transferred both this past summer and this winter. This list will be updated if any other deals are confirmed.

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Transfer fees according to

Player Transfer Fee Date From To USMNT caps
Weston McKennie $22.55 million July 1, 2021 Schalke Juventus 28
Ricardo Pepi $18 million Jan. 3, 2022 FC Dallas FC Augsburg 7
Josh Sargent $10.45 million Aug. 9, 2021 Werder Bremen Norwich City 19
Daryl Dike $9.5 million Jan. 1, 2022 Orlando City SC West Brom 8
Bryan Reynolds $7.43 million July 1, 2021 FC Dallas AS Roma 2
Gianluca Busio $6.6 million Aug. 9, 2021 Sporting KC Venezia 9
Tanner Tessmann $4 million July 15, 2021 FC Dallas Venezia 1
Matthew Hoppe $3.85 million Aug. 31, 2021 Schalke Mallorca 6
Konrad de la Fuente $3.3 million July 1, 2021 Barcelona Marseille 3
Jordan Pefok $2.75 million July 1, 2021 Stade Rennais Young Boys 8
Kellyn Acosta $1.5 million Jan. 14, 2022 Colorado Rapids LAFC 45
Sebastian Lletget $1.3 million Dec. 16, 2021 LA Galaxy New England 33
James Sands Loan (with option) Jan. 5, 2022 NYCFC Rangers 7

USMNT player transfer rumors

Below is an updated list of all notable transfer reports and rumors involving players who either have played for the United States national team or are eligible to do so.

Christian Pulisic (FW, Chelsea)

  • Linked to: Barcelona
  • Contract expires: 2024

Since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, Christian Pulisic has found it difficult to nail down a starting place at Stamford Bridge. It was difficult enough with the club bringing in talented attacking players like Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Romelu Lukaku, but Tuchel's tactical preferences have left wingers like Pulisic on the fringes. Tuchel prefers to play a 3-4-2-1, which has forced Pulisic to play wingback or striker with Mason Mount owning the No. 10 role.

In December, English journalist Paul Brown reported that Pulisic is getting plenty of interest and has "teams looking at him." Spanish outlet Fichajes also reported that Chelsea hoped to "cash in" on Pulisic in January, but nothing has since materialized. Earlier that same month, Spain's Mundo Deportivo named Barcelona as a club that could be looking to bring in Pulisic during the winter.

Sergino Dest (DF, Barcelona)

  • Linked to: Chelsea
  • Contract expires: 2024

Barcelona's financial crisis has caused the club to look for options to free up wage space and to bank transfer fees for assets. Sergino Dest has been caught up in that mess, with the young fullback missing time this season with an injury, and unable to find time under new manager Xavi.

While rumors seem split on whether Dest will push for a move or whether he will remain to fight for his place at Barca, there has been significant noise regarding an exit from the Camp Nou though chatter about specific clubs interested in the 21-year-old hasn't truly ramped up during the first part of January.

Dest's agent Michael Reschke spoke to German outlet Ran (Jan. 17) regarding Dest's situation at Barcelona, saying that Dest "feels good" at Barcelona and says a move is "unlikely" at this point. 

That public statement came after Spanish daily Sport reported on Jan. 7 that Chelsea is "keeping an eye" on the 21-year-old though Dest "wants to stay at Barcelona." Bayern Munich, which was interested in signing Dest before his Barcelona move, has also been mooted after rumors began to swirl in December. But manager Xavi said early on that the player's absence from the lineup was injury-related, not performance-related.

Weston McKennie (MF, Juventus)

  • Linked to: Tottenham
  • Contract expires: 2025

Since moving from Schalke to Juventus, first on loan in 2020 and then permanently a year later, the 23-year-old has experienced a revival. Juventus saw the raw talent at Schalke and the club has molded McKennie into a regular midfield starter for a European power. But Juventus has performed below expectations this season, currently in a battle just to secure a Champions League place, and there could be casualties from such a disappointment.

McKennie struggled with consistency in the run-up to the 2022 January transfer window, igniting a flurry of rumors. Since then, he has responded with goals in back-to-back games, including one against Udinese in the league and another against Inter in the Italian Super Cup. The rumors seem to have tapered off for now as a result.

The strongest hints at a move came from Italian publication Calciomercato which reported that Tottenham boss Antonio Conte sees McKennie as a potential improvement for the Spurs midfield. But with Massimiliano Allegri frequently using McKennie, the report indicated that a significant offer would have to come in for Juventus to even entertain the move.

Brenden Aaronson (MF/FW, RB Salzburg)

  • Linked to: Leeds United
  • Contract expires: 2025

Only just arriving at RB Salzburg from MLS a year ago, Aaronson has made a splash in his year in Europe. With 10 goals and 12 assists since singning for RB Salzburg, the 21-year-old winger has seen his name become one of the first on the teamsheet for boss Matthias Jaissle. His performances have reportedly caught the attention of those in the Premier League, and it has seen a flurry of reporting as the end of the January transfer window nears.

While Aaronson could make a lucrative switch to the Premier League this winter, it would mean giving up on Champions League action. Aaronson helped RB Salzburg progress from its Champions League group and it's now set for a high-profile matchup against Bayern Munich in the knockout stage. That series could increase his transfer value if he has a star showing.

The Athletic reported on Jan. 18 that Leeds United has seen a $21 million bid rejected for Aaronson. The report further stated that Leeds "remains intent on signing the forward" despite the rejected bid. The club may see Aaronson as a replacement for Rafinha who has been heavily linked with a departure from Elland Road.

Tyler Adams (MF, RB Leipzig)

  • Linked to: Manchester United, Arsenal
  • Contract expires: 2025

Since moving to RB Leipzig in the winter of 2019, Tyler Adams has become a fixture at the Bundesliga club and helped them make a consistent Champions League push every season. Even this year, where a disappointing first half sees RB Leipzig sitting back in seventh, they remain just three points back of a top-four spot.

The American is still just 22 years old and his contract doesn't expire until 2025, so it would seem unlikely that any deal would be forthcoming, but rumors have popped up anyways.

In December, English tabloid Metro stated that Adams could be an option for Manchester United this January. The article appears to be more speculation than actual reporting, as it posits that the addition of former RBNY boss Chris Armas to the Manchester United coaching staff could open a door for Adams, but doesn't give any other specifics.

Months earlier in June 2021, The Athletic reported that Arsenal had interest. While the trail here has gone cold since the summer, it's worth noting since Arsenal is in dire need of midfielders and previous intrest can often provide a gauge for future movement.

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