Major League Soccer has been a hotbed of talent, pumping out a steady stream of exciting prospects for a number of years now. The likes of Brendan Aaronson and Weston McKennie are two of the biggest names to have flown from the States to Europe in recent times, but they are certainly not going to be the last. Join us here at SinkorSwimSports as we run you through which MLS players we think could be jetting off to Europe next!
Thiago Almada (Atlanta United)
We’re kicking off with a bit of an outside shout, but one that could be worth bookmarking for the future.
Following Argentina’s win at Qatar, Almada became the first active MLS player to win the World Cup, giving the 21-year-old a whole lot more coverage than before. The Argentine attacker only joined Atlanta United in February 2022 but managed to bag 6 goals and 12 assists in 29 MLS appearances during his debut season. However, being the most expensive MLS signing at $16 million, Almada will certainly require a large fee to be coaxed away from the Five Stripes.
Jayden Nelson (Toronto FC)
Jayden Nelson was given his breakthrough moment in Toronto’s starting lineup whilst they awaited the arrival of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernadeschi, however, his stellar performances meant he would keep a spot in the team’s midfield throughout 2022.
Explosive and dynamic, he is one of the most exciting prospects in Major League Soccer and more than comfortable in a variety of positions. The 20-year-old made 25 starts from his 31 MLS appearances in 2022 and registered 1 goal and 2 assists. Toronto will be keen to keep a hold of their talisman, but it might be difficult to keep the suitors away after such a breakthrough campaign.
José Cifuentes (Los Angeles FC)
As 2022 Supporters Shield and MLS Cup winners, LAFC are likely to be one of the most popular clubs for European scouts, and José Cifuentes could well be at the top of most of their lists.
Cifuentes made his World Cup with Ecuador in Qatar and, with 7 goals and 7 assists in 33 MLS appearances, could be a smart acquisition. Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion have already been linked with the 23-year-old, having already recruited three Ecuadorian stars Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan and Jeremy Sarmiento.
Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union)
Philadelphia Union’s Kai Wagner is almost certainly going to be heading to pastures new this January transfer window. The 25-year-old left-back has been at the Union since 2019, having played in Germany across his career before coming Stateside.
Former New York Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch has been a big admirer of the defender for some time, with Leeds heavily linked with Wagner during the summer transfer window. The German has been named in the MLS Best XI twice, was a 2022 Defender of the Year nominee and registered 15 assists across the season.
John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls)
Here at SinkorSwimSports, we’ve been admirers of John Tolkin for a while now. Still aged just 20 years old, he has already made 59 MLS appearances and reached double-digits for assists as a homegrown talent.
Dynamic and forward-thinking, he embodies the role of a modern full-back and a move to pastures new is surely a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ at this point. Red Bull Salzburg and Belgian outfit Anderlecht have both been linked with the American in the past and, with NYRB recently signing two homegrown left-backs, it looks as if the club is already preparing for life without Tolkin.
Red Bulls, James Anderson and Christian Pulisic enthusiast. Still unsure how Wes Brown wrangled himself a Champions League medal – Premier League, Cricket and Major League Soccer contributor at SinkorSwimSports.