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.
MLS is officially back in full swing.
Every team has played at least a few games, and it is safe to say both the managers and the fans have a pretty good idea of exactly who and what their club needs to add in order to contend for a MLS Cup this season.
There are still a few months left in this current transfer window, and as a result rumors are swirling and teams are making moves. That being said, here are your top MLS transfer rumors for the week of March 19.
Darwin Quintero — Minnesota United
While the rumors surrounding Colombian striker Darwin Quintero and a proposed move to Canada have subsided, the player has remained in the MLS transfer spotlight.
Now, according to MLSSoccer.com, the latest team to court Quintero is MLS’ Minnesota United. The Loons have apparently ramped up their efforts to land the Columbian, after Canadian sides Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps lost interest last month.
If the rumors are true, it seems Quintero may finally make the move away from current side Club America in Mexico.
Quintero has been a mainstay for the Mexican side for the last few years. His strength and skill on the ball have made the Columbian an indispensable player in America’s Starting XI.
Lately, Quintero has been left out of the Starting XI due to regulations that limit the number of foreign players that can be on the field at any given time. This has greatly limited Quintero’s impact, and has proven to be a motivator in the player’s decision to leave.
However, MNUFC could run into the same issues that previous suitors of the 30-year-old have.
Quintero drives a high price tag, as the player is still valued highly by America despite his lack of consistent playing time. TFC already had a $5 million bid rejected, and the Mexican side has shown they will not sell if their price tag is not met.
Mathieu Valbuena — Toronto FC
Reigning MLS Cup champions Toronto FC have struggled early on in their title defense this season, as the Reds sit without a win in their first two games. Now, manager Greg Vanney is reportedly looking abroad, to bring fresh faces to his side.
According to Turkish outlet Fotomac, the Canadian side are reportedly interested in French attacker Mathieu Valbuena. Valbuena is currently plying his trade in the Turkish Super Lig, playing for giants Fenerbahce.
Admittedly in the back half of his career, Valbuena, 33, has nevertheless been productive for the Turkish club. Valbuena has 5 goals and 8 assists in 15 appearances, and the Frenchman could provide the spark the TFC attack needs to get back on track.
Aside from goals and assists, Valbuena would also provide a veteran presence in Toronto’s locker room.
Valbuena is a journeyman, of sorts, as a move to Toronto would see him join his fifth professional club. Valbuena has spent most of his career in France with Marseille and Olympique Lyon, so a move outside of Europe could provide a refreshing end to his career.
Yannick Boli — Colorado Rapids
Editor’s Note: Yannick Boli has signed with Colorado. Boli penned a one-year deal with the Rapids last Thursday.
Colorado Rapids started their 2018 season rather poorly, with a loss to a New England Revolution side that looked hapless after Matchday 1.
According to SB Nation, this defeat could spur a spending spree that would see the Rapids acquire former Ivorian starlet Yannick Boli. Boli is currently a free agent after his most recent club, Dalian Yifang in China, reportedly bought out his contract.
The Ivorian forward has been in fine form with the Chinese side, scoring 16 times while assisting five more in 24 appearances. If he continues this form in MLS, Boli could prove to be a great addition to Colorado’s struggling attack.
Boli, a French-born, Ivorian international, was once tipped to be a budding star, as he originally came up through Paris Saint Germain’s youth system. However, the winger did not reach the heights he was pegged to.
Still, Boli has been able to find some success throughout Europe. Notably, Boli made a name for himself in Russia, scoring 24 goals in 62 games for Anzhi Makhachkala before moving to China.
Boli, 30, can still be of use to the Rapids, though the MLS might offer a greater challenge than anything Boli has seen in recent years.
Luca de la Torre — New England Revolution
New manager Brad Friedel and the New England Revolution are off to an interesting start in 2018.
After an appalling performance in their first match against the Philadelphia Union, the Revs bounced back in thrilling fashion to defeat a Rapids team in extra time, on Matchday 2.
However, New England are still far from a polished outfit. They are in desperate need of game changers, and thus they still will be looking to bring in more talent. Fresh faces, more than anything, are what Friedel’s Revolution needs.
American youngster Luca de la Torre would be a start. According to SB Nation and The Bent Musket, De la Torre could be sent out on loan by English Championship side Fulham.
De la Torre has played in England since his debut with Fulham in 2016. There, he has made five league appearances for the club. While De la Torre has shown promise in the 50 minutes he’s played, the club is looking to loan the young midfielder out, in order to gain more experience and time on the pitch.
Friedel could be keen to bring the 19-year-old in on loan, as the player worked with Friedel for the U.S. Under-20 team. Friedel, a former U.S. youth international coach, knows the player well from his time at the 2017 CONCACAF Championships and the U-20 World Cup last year.
The Revs are reportedly keen on a loan deal with Fulham. Given a deal would satisfy both the player and his parent club, and could prove to benefit New England in the short term, this is a rumor to keep tabs on.
Another talented American international could be making his way back across the pond and to MLS soon.
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.