Welcome to the Rumor Radar, a weekly column by Philly Football Daily MLS contributor, Noah Barnes. Each week, Barnes breaks down the top MLS transfer rumors of the week.
Well folks, it’s finally here!
On Saturday, the 2018 Major League Soccer season kicked off, in what promises to be a great year for football in the United States. I, for one, am as excited as ever to follow the storylines, sagas and transfers that unfold throughout this new MLS season.
Already, there have been several shock results. Teams from both the East and West put aside last season’s failures and came out determined to make amends and rewrite their club’s destinies.
Now, with the first games of the regular season out of the way, coaches have had the best in-game opportunity to assess the strength of their respective squads. And, since the transfer window remains open, the Rumor Radar remains on.
Let’s take a look at what adjustments teams are looking to make after the first week. Here it is: this week’s top-five MLS transfer rumors.
Adolfo Munoz — Columbus Crew
The Crew have been linked with some big name transfers this window, but have been largely unsuccessful in landing their signatures. This could all change soon, however. It is reported by Ecuadorian outlet Imperio Futbol EC that forward Adolfo Munoz could be joining the Columbus club, soon.
Munoz is the latest forward to be linked with Columbus, as the club was close to bringing in Ghanaian winger Issah Abass in February. Munoz seems to be a more likely transfer, however, as it is reported the Crew have already submitted a formal offer of around $1 million for the player.
Munoz currently plays for Ecuadorian side El Nacional, but has been quoted saying he wishes to move overseas to MLS.
The 20-year-old Ecuador international would join an impressive movement of South American talents to arrive in MLS and lace up their boots. Should the move materialize, Columbus would be adding yet another promising youngster, who can only serve to benefit both the Crew as well as the league as a whole.
Columbus has not had the best record of closing deals this offseason, but this could be a turning point for the club in their transfer dealings this window.
Joseph Mora — DC United
Costa Rican international Joseph Mora has been in the transfer news quite a lot, lately. And, as of this week, Mora has found his way in the transfer spotlight once again.
Three weeks ago, it was reported by Teletica the player was negotiating a move away from his current club, in his native Costa Rica. Then, there was no clear destination in mind.
Now, it is being reported by Teletica that Mora’s next destination will likely be the United States and the nation’s capital, as MLS side D.C. United are apparently interested in the player.
If the player is to make a move to D.C., he would follow in the footsteps of former Deportivo Saprissa teammate Ulises Segura, who made his move to United in December.
Mora normally plays on the left side of Saprissa’s defense, making 77 appearances for the club over the last three years and having been an integral part of the club’s success over that span. Recently, the 25-year-old helped the club reach the quarterfinal of this season’s CONCACAF Champions League.
Mora offers all the qualities of a modern fullback — he is resilient and strong in the tackle, but can also venture forward and provide width down the flanks. In my opinion, the player would be an excellent capture for United, should the deal materialize.
Didier Moreno, Luis Alberto Caicedo — New England Revolution
With the departure of midfielder Lee Nguyen looking increasingly imminent, the New England Revolution are in serious need of depth in the center of the pitch. Fortunately for Revs fans, however, a report from Columbian reporter Rios Gonzalez says the club are eying a South American swoop to reinforce that area of the park.
It is reported the Revs are targeting two potential players to strengthen the midfield, with either Independiente Medellin’s Didier Moreno or Cortulua’s Luis Alberto Caicedo being subject to a bid by New England. Both players currently ply their trade in their native Columbia, with Caicedo playing in the second division.
Rios’s report suggests New England have upwards of $3 million to spend on one of the players (or both, if they can get them for what would be considered an extreme and unlikely bargain).
Rather than which player to target, the Revs will likely have to decide on the type of player they feel they need, before making their decision to submit a formal offer. Moreno and Caicedo usually play countering roles for their respective clubs.
Caicedo, 21, has made his name as a defensive midfielder, and is at his best when providing cover for the backline. Moreno, on the other hand, is a true box-to-box midfielder, and is at his best when allowed to drive forward as a creative engine in the midfield.
While Moreno, 26, can also operate as a holding midfielder, he is more of an attack-minded player. Moreno would likely be a wasted buy, if he were not played in a more advanced role.
Scott Arfield — Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact
According to English paper, The Sun, it is reported that Canadian international Scott Arfield could be making his way back to his native country this Summer, as both the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact are keen on bringing the player to MLS.
Arfield, who currently plays in the English Premier League for Burnley, is coming to the end of his contract in the Summer, and both Canadian sides are reportedly looking to snatch him up.
Afrield, 29, is the only Canadian international in the Premier League, and though he has performed admirably for Burnley, Arfield has yet to sign a new deal with the club. Considering Arfield has been the subject or transfer rumors in the past, it would not be unlikely to see this rumor pan out.
The Canadian has contributed largely to Burnley’s success this year, and is a regular at the club. He has spent the past five seasons with the Clarets, a tenure which has seen him go through numerous relegation and promotion battles. This experience could come in handy for whichever club he chooses to sign for in the Summer.
Any outsider effort to sign the midfielder could be hindered, however, if Burnley are able to finish in a coveted Europa League spot at the end of this season’s campaign. The Clarets currently sit seventh in the Premier League table and are eight points behind sixth place Arsenal.
Should the club finish in either of those positions at the end of the year, they will likely find themselves in a fight to compete in the competition next season. If this is the case, re-signing Arfield will be a top priority for the side, as squad depth will be imperative.
Darixon Vuelto — Portland Timbers
According to The Oregonian, the transfer saga of Darixon Vuelto appears to be nearing an end, perhaps as soon as today and the time I am writing this (it’s Sunday, by the way).
Talks of Vuelto to PDX have been ongoing throughout the week. I have not gotten the chance to publish anything about it, until now. So let’s break it down.
Last Friday, a report out of Honduras suggested the forward would be making a move North, from current side Real Espana in Honduras to the Houston Dynamo in MLS. However, a new report then suggested Vuelto’s destination would, in fact, be the Portland Timbers. Now, it seems the 20-year-old is likely to pen a deal with the Timbers’ USL affiliate, T2, with the MLS side looking to bring him up in 2019.
The rising star has scored 10 times in 28 appearances for Espana since joining the club, and would be a promising addition to any MLS roster, if nothing more than a signing for the future. Vuelto has shown a capability to play at the top level as well, as he has participated in the CONCACAF Champions League early in his career with Victoria.
Reports suggest the player is traveling to Portland on Sunday to complete a potential move. In the meantime, I will be tracking this move on Twitter and on behalf of Philly Football Daily.
Keep you posted. Cheers.