Welcome to the Rumor Radar, a new, weekly column by Philly Football Daily’s newest contributor, Noah Barnes. Each week, Barnes breaks down the top MLS transfer rumors of the week.
It’s been more than a week since the conclusion of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, and that means one thing: the primary transfer window is right around the corner. Ok, maybe it means two. It’s also time to switch on the Rumor Radar.
Teams are well into preseason mode and gearing up for the start of the 2018 season, which begins in just over a month. One can only expect that coaches are chomping at the bit, looking to make last-minute sales before the season kicks off. While the SuperDraft may have filled the needs of some clubs, every team will certainly be hoping to boost their squad in some capacity, in the coming weeks.
That said, here are PFD’s top five transfer rumors of the week.
Gregory Van der Wiel — Toronto Football Club
Let’s start with a big one.
The Van der Wiel to MLS rumor has been swirling in excess the past few weeks, and it appears that the 29-year-old Dutch journeyman will make his way to the league once the transfer window opens on Feb. 7.
The former Paris Saint-Germain defender has found life difficult at current Serie A side Calgari, and is rumored to come to Toronto in search of more consistent playing time, according to Italian reporter Gianlugi Longari.
Reports suggest that the Dutchman will sign a two-year deal with The Reds of Toronto, and the side will certainly relish welcoming an experienced presence to their back line. Be on the lookout for an official announcement in the coming day(s).
Jack Harrison — Stoke City
Wow, things aren’t getting any smaller here.
Fans of New York City FC surely know what a talent they currently have in Jack Harrison, but they may find it hard to keep ahold of him in the next few weeks, as the club has received a number of bids from English Premier League sides for the winger.
Out in front of the pack seem to be relegation contender, Stoke City, who have submitted two official offers for Harrison, with the most recent reported to be in the region of $10 million with additional fees. While NYCFC are keen to keep the England youth international at the club, it will be difficult to turn down an offer that would make Harrison the co-most expensive player in MLS history.
One thing that the club have on their side is time, as the English winter transfer window closes on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Keep an eye on this one, as it should come to a conclusion sooner rather than later.
Claudio Marchisio — Montreal Impact
In another large move that might shock MLS fans, Juventus star Claudio Marchisio is rumored to be on the move this transfer window, with the Montreal Impact throwing their name in the ring to sign the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato and Goal.
The 32-year-old has spent his entire career with the Serie A giants (minus a brief loan spell at Empoli), but has found playing time difficult to come by this season due to injury and lack of a consistent place. Though the Italian has a place in Juve fans’ hearts, the club have stated they will let him leave, if he so chooses.
Montreal would be keen to jump on this opportunity, as Marchisio would likely become an immediate part of new head coach Remi Garde’s plans. The Frenchman would certainly do well to land such a large signing, though he will likely face stiff competition from European clubs for a player of Marchisio’s magnitude.
Will we see another Italian midfield star join the MLS? Only time will tell.
Ross McCormack — LA Galaxy
A rumored move that is slightly less grandiose as the past few is that reported by Daily Mail in England, which reports that out of favor Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack could be on his way to the MLS. Favorites to win his signature are LA Galaxy, but only just so over Orlando City SC and Colorado Rapids.
McCormack is surplus to requirements at Villa, and he might do well to escape the sinking ship that is the second division English side. Villa were relegated from the English Premier League last year, and look to face an uphill battle to reach the top division again.
Regardless, the 31-year-old does not figure to be part of this fight, and could be scooped up by an MLS side. Though aged, the Scottish striker has shown flashes of quality across numerous stints in the Scottish Premier League and English second division, and could add quality depth at striker for the side that signs him.
Nicolas Benedetti — Minnesota United
The final transfer of the week is one that will likely excite fans of recent expansion club Minnesota United, as the club is rumored to be after the signature of young, Colombian, attacker Nicolas Benedetti. The 20-year old would boost an attacking line that failed to consistently provide goals last season.
Benedetti scored 14 goals in 82 appearances for current club Deportivo Cali in the Colombian first division, though he was mostly limited to a deeper role. However, his playing style suggests he would do well in a more advanced role, perhaps even playing behind a striker.
Either way, the player is a blossoming talent that MNUFC would do well to get their hands on. He would likely cost the club around $4 million, if a bid were to be launched.
Keep an eye out this week for each of these rumored MLS transfers, and check back next Monday for the latest edition of the Rumor Radar. In the meantime, connect and follow Noah on Twitter. Cheers.