It was an huge Deadline Day for American players as six U.S. internationals or youth internationals all moved to new clubs. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta looks at each of the deals and offers up his analysis and thoughts.
February 01, 2021
DEADLINE DAY was remarkably active for American players as six players on the U.S. national team or youth national teams moved clubs and another top youth player signed a new deal with his current Bundesliga club.
In total four of the deals were loans and two of the deals were permanent transfers. They come on the heels of what has been a huge winter. Brenden Aaronson moved to Red Bull Salzburg and Mark McKenzie moved to Genk earlier in the window while Jordan Morris was loaned to Swansea City.
The current uncertainty of the start of the 2021 MLS season has opened the doors for more loans similar to Jordan Morris. MLS teams are incentivized to loan the players out, have other clubs pay salary, and then get either a transfer fee at the end or a player who is in midseason form come the summer.
The conditions were ripe for a lot of movement and that is what happened.
Here is a brief list of what transpired today followed by our thoughts on the moves.
Deadline Day moves
- Paul Arriola: to Swansea City – on loan from DC United
- Tyler Boyd: to Sivasspor on loan – on loan from Besiktas
- Chris Richards: to Hoffenheim on loan – on loan from Bayern Munich
- DeAndre Yedlin: to Galatasaray
- Bryan Reynolds: to Roma
- Daryl Dike: to Barnsley on loan – on loan from Orlando City
- Matthew Hoppe: signs new Schalke deal
Arriola loaned to Swansea City
United States national team winger Paul Arriola is heading to Swansea City on loan from DC United until the end of the Championship season. He will join up with fellow American Jordan Morris to help get the team promoted and Swansea City currently sits in second place.
Arriola, 25, has shown a lot of progress from his ACL team over the last two months at separate U.S. national team camps. His mobility has been sharp and his finishing, sometimes a criticism of Arriola, was in good form.
There is no option to buy on this loan but there is an understanding DC United and Swansea City will talk should Swansea want to keep the Chula Vista native.
Arriola might not play right off the bat but he will get a chance. There are 20 Championship games remaining in the season, plus the FA Cup, plus the possibility of the playoffs.
If Arriola’s final ball runs hot and cold, but if he is playing well in that regard, he could do well in England. Arriola’s strengths as a player are his ability to cover a ton of ground, play defense, and provide energy to the game. He’s eager to try to make plays but can find ways to help his team even his form is off.
But the Championship could be a good fit for Arriola where athleticism, speed, pace, and physicality are valued.
Boyd loaned to Sivasspour
It has been a brutal four month stretch for U.S. national team winger Tyler Boyd, 26, who has not played for Besiktas since October 4 as he was dropped from the team’s active roster due to a limit on foreign players. Two weeks ago, Boyd was reinstated for Besitkas as the league increased its foreign player limit but Boyd still did not make the matchday roster.
Now in joining Sivasspour on loan for the rest of the Super Lig season with an option to buy, Boyd will be joining his third Turkish team since 2019. Two years ago, he was remarkably strong for Ankaragucu and earned a move to Besiktas where his form cooled off.
The pressure in Turkey is scaled back quite a bit in Turkey outside of the big Istanbul clubs and Boyd will now have a chance to get his career back on track because he has played so little soccer the past 12 months.
Boyd is a remarkably streaky player. He was up and down at all of his clubs outside of Ankaragucu but Sivasspour currently is in 14th place and he should have an opportunity to start. Now it will be up to him.
Richards loaned to Hoffenheim
Bayern Munich decided to loan Chris Richards, 20, to Hofenheim for the remainder of the Bundesliga season. There is no option to buy on this deal.
This is a great move for Richards who will be reunited with Hoffenheim manager Sebastian Hoeneß who was the manager for Bayern Munich’s U-23 team last season which won the 3.Liga title. Richards was a mainstay with that team and now will get to continue playing under Hoeneß.
Hoffenheim is remarkably inconsistent this year and its 34 goals conceded over 19 games is the fourth worst in the Bundesliga. Hoffenheim is the only team to have defeated Bayern Munich this season and the only team to have lost to Schalke. In 12th place, Hoffenheim has no serious chances of qualifying for Europe or getting relegated.
Hoffenheim needs defenders and Richards is going to a place where the manager knows him and believes in him. Part of the challenge for young players to finding quality loans is finding a place where the player is needed and doesn’t have to spend a significant amount of time proving himself on loan.
In this loan, Richards has checked a lot boxes of what is needed for a promising loan.
Yedlin loaned to Galatasaray
After leaving the Seattle Sounders for Tottenham in 2015, DeAndre Yedlin has been in England – with Tottenham, Sunderland, and Newcastle United. Now he is off to Turkey to play with Galatasaray, one of the biggest clubs in the country. This deal comes as his deal with Newcastle United was set to expire in June and there was no interest in either party in bringing him back to the Premier League club.
There has been a lot of talk about the growing U.S. national team right back pool. Sergino Dest is the obvious starter and has played a lot for Barcelona but while there are several options behind him, none are completely convincing. Reggie Cannon and Boavista haven’t been great this season. Bryan Reynolds will need time to get adjusted at Roma. Julian Araujo played mostly right wing last season for the LA Galaxy.
Yedlin, 27, will get a nice salary at Galatasaray but if he can play and contribute to the third-placed team in the Super Lig, he can very easily reclaim the backup right back position on the U.S. team. He absolutely should not be discounted in terms of the national team.
Aside from the national team, this is a move full of opportunity for Yedlin return to playing regularly on a team where the pressure among the fanbase is immense and silverware is always within reach.
Reynolds joins Roma
Bryan Reynolds, 19, finally made the move abroad after sealing a permanent transfer to AS Roma. The transfer fee is just south of $7 million and FC Dallas keeps 15% of his rights in a future transfer.
This transfer saga was wild and it seemed as if Reynolds was close to Juventus and a loan to Cagliari and then Benevento. That fell though but then Roma came into the mix for Reynolds and the deal was announced on Monday.
Many of the young American and Canadian players coming from MLS teams or academies have all done well in Europe lately. The league is on a winning streak but Reynolds is making this move on less that 1500 career first-team minutes. It is far different from Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, Tyler Adams, and Reggie Cannon who were starters at their domestic clubs for two seasons.
“This is a dream come true … I will work hard to achieve great things for this club.”
Welcome to Roma, Bryan! ????
More details ?? https://t.co/SMID2Vw6Bo pic.twitter.com/Fj1Bi6zuep
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) February 1, 2021
Bryan Reynolds, at 6’3”, has the size and athleticism that is intriguing to foreign scouts. He is still newer to the fullback positions after developing as a forward in his youth national team days. Getting adjusted to Serie A will probably take some time for Reynolds who is still new to the professional game. He is a project for Roma but one where they believe in his upside. Time is on his side too as he is young and has a long-term contract.
It doesn’t seem likely Reynolds will play much of a role for Roma in the months ahead but anything is possible. In the meantime, it will be up for Roma to develop Reynolds to where he can use his athleticism and strengths to fit effectively within Serie A.
Dike loaned to Barnsley
Daryl Dike, 20, was loan to Barnsley in the Championship on Monday and his one appearance with the national team on Sunday was enough to qualify him for a UK Work Permit under the new Brexit rules.
Dike is coming off a strong rookie season for Orlando where he developed into an effective forward. His 6’1”, 220 pound frame is unique and gives teams a different approach to play the forward position. His technical ability to go on with his size will be fun to watch in England, although it might take some time for him to adjust.
At Barnsley, Dike will be joining a club that has just two points from its last five games and has tumbled all the way down to 12th place. The club needs forwards and Dike will help to fill that void. With 20 games remaining in the Championship season, he will have plenty of opportunities to play and prove himself.
The $20 million option to buy is huge, and Barnsley never going to pay it. But this move is smart because it gets him in the English shop window for Premier League teams. If Dike can be an effective Championship player at his age and size, he will be the subject of interest among Premier League teams.
If that doesn’t materialize, Dike will return to Orlando City a few games into the 2021 season and will be in midseason form. Then he can build up his resume for the national team other clubs in a future window. There isn’t much of a downside to this at all for Dike and it will also give him another avenue to learn the game.
Hoppe signs new Schalke deal
On Monday, Schalke announced it had signed American forward Matthew Hoppe, 19, to a new, multi-year contract. Hoppe earned headlines in January when he had a three-game run in the Bundesliga where he scored five goals in three games. Against Hoffenheim, he became the first American player to score a hat trick in Germany’s top flight.
Schalke right now is a disaster and is one of the worst Bundesliga clubs in modern history. Relegation is almost a certainty, just three seasons removed from finishing in second.
This deal was probably in the works for a long time and it never quite added up that Schalke would play a teenage forward in the final year of his contract and run the risk of losing him for free. The delay time between deals getting signed and deals getting announced can be long. There was probably something in the works before Hoppe began playing regularly with Schalke’s first team.
Signing with Schalke makes sense for Hoppe. There is probably a buyout provision that allows him to escape but staying in the 2.Bundesliga next season with Schalke isn’t necessarily a bad situation. He’s had a lot of success in January but that was only a three-game run. Hoppe still has a lot to learn and it shouldn’t be forgotten that Hoppe wasn’t a big scorer with Schalke’s youth teams. The worst thing for Hoppe would be to go to a big club, cool off, and then struggle to play. Staying with Schalke would give him a chance to play and be part of the club’s plans to get them back to the top flight.
Overall, this was a mature decision that will give him the best chance to earn minutes and not latch onto the big club at this early age when he is still new to the professional game.