A new year continued the same trend of young Americans taking the much-vaunted leap to Europe.
While we’ve seen plenty of the ‘usual’ deals this January window, standard transfers like the record transfer of Ricardo Pepi to FC Augsburg and Daryl Dike to West Bromwich Albion, another trend has emerged.
The 18 month loan with purchase option.
Since the start of the year, MLS clubs have used this method to bring some of their brightest talent into European competition.
18-month loans with an option to buy are the new trend in MLS15 transfers
Notably, versatile defender James Sands, fresh off an MLS Cup title with NYCFC, has already completed his switch to Rangers FC. Meanwhile, Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett and FC Dallas fullback Justin Che would follow with moves towards Feyenoord and TSG Hoffenheim, respectively.
Most football fans understand that loans can serve many purposes, ranging from reducing wages to trying to develop players. These 18-month loans fall under the latter.
For Sands, 21, and Bassett, 20, it will be their first taste of football outside the United States, while teenager Che had a brief five-month loan stint with Bayern II. Adapting to a new country and a new league will come with its initial difficulties.
With the prospect of 18 months with a potential new club, Rangers, Feyenoord and Hoffenheim will get an in-depth look at their future permanent signings before incurring a transfer fee.
If loaned players fail to impress their new club, they can return to the world of MLS transfers, gain European experience and potentially increase their transfer value.
Winter is coming
It’s a different year for football. Not just because someone spent $33 million on Chris Wood, but because the World Cup is coming this winter.
With its immense wealth (bribes ?), Qatar has changed the entire football calendar. Usually held during the clubs’ off-season in the summer, this year’s edition will take place during the winter, interrupting the 2022/2023 campaign.
These 18-month loans are more like 12-month loans when you consider how much time these players are going to miss due to the World Cup.
On a personal note for Sands, Che and Bassett, all players called up to the USMNT. Playing well abroad can only improve their chances of playing in Qatar.