Welcome to the Rumor Radar, a weekly column by Philly Football Daily’s MLS contributor, Noah Barnes. Each week, Barnes breaks down the top MLS transfer rumors of the week.
With the start of the MLS season now officially less than a month away, teams are gearing up and hitting the last stretch of preseason training before opening day. Most clubs have a few preseason scrimmages under their belt and coaches have an even better feel for their squads.
That means one thing: the Rumor Radar is blowing up. Time to switch it on and give my top-five, MLS transfer rumors of the week.
Darwin Quintero — Toronto FC/Vancouver Whitecaps
This first transfer rumor is one that would see another highly touted South American footballer join the ranks of a MLS squad. If he were to do so, Darwin Quintero would add to the mounting list of South American players joining up with MLS clubs.
Quintero currently plays for Mexican side Club America. However, AS USA is reporting that the winger is drawing interest from Canadian outfits Vancouver Whitecaps and recent MLS Cup champions, Toronto FC. The versatile attacker can play as either an out-and-out striker or as a deeper forward. At times, Quinetero has even played the attacking midfielder role.
The Colombian international has a unique combination of both skill and power coupled with a natural ability to weave around defenders. Quintero is a known finisher who possesses a rocket for a right foot. Though naturally right-footed, the Columbian has shown he can finish with any part of his body.
TFC have tabled a $5 million bid for the 30-year-old and, if he were to join, Quintero should be a worthwhile bid for the club.
Kevin Ellis — FC Dallas
This rumor is kind of a strange one. American defender Kevin Ellis is reportedly attending preseason camp with FC Dallas, despite still being under contract with his current club, Sporting Kansas City.
The defender has not officially joined the Dallas club, but is currently attending preseason as a trial to see if he would be a good fit in Oscar Pareja’s side. Ellis is still young, has shown promise at SKC and would likely be a welcome addition to the Dallas’ defense.
The 26-year-old is currently taking a leave of absence from SKC, as he and the club mutually agreed to part ways indefinitely back in September. It seems as though Sporting have allowed Ellis to trial with other squads in the meantime.
Jordon Mutch — Vancouver Whitecaps
Vancouver certainly look to be one of the squads hoping to bolster their squad in time for the start of the new season. The Whitecaps may be on the verge of doing so, according to ESPN.
England native Jordon Mutch seems to be the midfield man the Canadian club is looking to bring in, and it is reported that both sides are in advanced negotiations to get the deal done.
Mutch has not featured much in his current side Crystal Palace of the English Premier League, having only made the bench a total of three times this campaign. It seems clear that the former England Under-21 player is not a prominent figure in Roy Hodgson’s efforts to stave off relegation.
Now 26, the midfielder could see this as an opportunity to get his career back on track, after falling short at previous clubs. Mutch certainly seems keen, and both clubs likely will come to an agreement soon.
Issah Abass — Columbus Crew SC
It may seem hard for Columbus Crew fans to smile much these days. Fans are still locked in a battle with owner Anthony Precourt to keep the club in central Ohio rather than Austin, Texas. However, recent news from MassiveReport could force a rare smile.
Columbus could be bolstering their midfield soon, with the addition of highly touted attacker Issah Abass, who currently plays for NK Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia. Reports suggest Abass could be torn away from the club for between $1.5 to 2 million.
This would be a small price to pay if the attacker lives up to the standards he has set in Slovenia, as he has notched six goals in 14 appearances for his current club, since joining in 2017. While this tally will be difficult to keep up in MLS, the Crew are hoping that the 19-year-old Ghanaian can continue this level of production.
Abass usually features on the left side of the pitch, either as an outside midfielder or a left winger in a front three formation. He uses the width to create spaces, which he uses along with his combination of speed and strength to cause problems for opposing fullbacks.
If Abass does join, expect Columbus’s attack to get a helluva lot faster with the addition of this promising youngster.
Amr Gamal — MLS
The final transfer for this week comes from the South African league.
Egyptian forward Amr Gamal is reportedly drawing interest from a number of MLS clubs. According to Soccer Laduma, Gamal could be out the door soon, with the South African transfer window being closed.
Gamal currently plays for Bidvest Wits, but has recently fallen down the pecking order. The 26-year-old has been heavily rumored to be leaving during the window, as South African sides Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United are favoring a move for the player.
Although those rumors did not come to pass, a number of MLS clubs are now joining the race to sign the Egyptian, who could be looking for more playing time ahead of Egypt’s first World Cup campaign in 28 years. Gamal is currently attempting to force his way back into his current side, but could see MLS as an opportunity ahead of this summer’s games.
Clubs in MLS, looking to sign Gamal could face competition from the Russian League, whose clubs are also rumored to be keen on the player and transfer window remains open until late February.
Keep an eye out, throughout the week, for each of these rumored MLS transfers. Check back next Monday for the latest edition of the Rumor Radar. In the meantime, connect and follow Noah on Twitter. Cheers.